New and Noteworthy

New and Noteworthy

Online Holiday Shopping Safety

Online shopping offers a convenient way to buy the items on your loved ones’ wish lists without dealing with crowds or lousy weather. The internet is also a great place to find deals during the holidays.

With holiday shoppers hitting the net, South Source takes a look at some tips offered by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) on how to shop safely online.

  • Protect your computer

Your computer should have the most recent updates installed for spam filters, anti-virus, and anti-spyware software, and a secure firewall.

  • Use trustworthy websites

Companies registered with the Better Business Bureau Online are more likely to be legitimate and committed to doing safe business. Do your homework to find out more about a particular site.

  • Protect your personal information

BBB recommends reading the privacy policy on the seller’s site to find out what personal information is being requested and how it will be used. If there isn’t a privacy policy posted, that could be a red flag that personal information may be sold to others without permission.

  • Trust your instincts

If a web offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Consumers should always go with their gut feeling and not be afraid to pass up a “deal” that might end up costing them. If you are unsure about a site, it is better to avoid it completely than to take chances.

  • Beware of phishing

Phishing is a scam email that appears to be from a store, bank, or online transaction service. Legitimate businesses will not ask you to verify personal information by email. If a consumer receives such an email, BBB recommends calling the contact number on the website where the purchase was made to confirm whether there really is a problem.

  • Confirm your online purchase is secure

Online shopping can be very secure, as long as you take necessary precautions. Shop only with websites merchants that offer secure transactions. Look in the URL address box for the “s” in https:// and in the lower-right corner for the “lock” symbol before paying.

  • Check for a return policy

A risk with online shopping is purchasing something that you might be dissatisfied with because it is not what it seemed to be. Before making a purchase, check to see what kind of return policy is in place.

  • Pay with a credit card

Experts say credit cards are the safest method of payment for online purchases. Under federal law, the shopper can dispute the charges if he or she doesn’t receive the item.

  • Keep documentation of your order

After completing the order online, there may be a final confirmation page or confirmation by email. BBB recommends saving a copy of the confirmation page and any emails for future reference and as a record of the purchase.

Author: Darice Britt

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