Online shopping is safer than shopping in the physical world.
There is no risk of your credit card receipt being taken from the trash by an unknown person or being
copied/stolen during a transaction requiring human contact.
You can identify a “secure” webpage by the icon on your screen with most browsers or “https://” instead of “http://”. At a secure webpage, your information submitted(passwords, address, credit card information, etc.) is encrypted (or scrambled) so that only the intended receiver can unscramble your information with a specific protected key that unlocks your information so your order can be processed.
Most websites with a secure area will have an icon or logo, usually on their homepage, that indicates a secure site certification. This is usually near their Privacy and Fraud policies links (icons/logos).
Keep in mind that if a company or website is based outside the United States, the return, refund, exchange, payment, or delivery policies may not only be different but are not affected by the U.S. federal consumer protection laws.
You are now ready to shop.
Most websites ask you to register. Protect your password.
Do not use the same password you use to log into your internet service provider or network.
Use a different password for each website you register with.
MySimon and BizRate are convenient services where they will search the web and give you a list
of prices at different websites for the same item. Take into consideration: each website’s shipping & delivery charges; if they use a fraud checking service, such as PayPal, that tells the online seller whether you are a fraud risk or not and your credit card is not charged unless you receive the merchandise and are satisfied; the sales tax if they deliver from your state; and, how long it
will be before you actually receive your merchandise.
Try to stay with a company or website that you have already done business with or you know their reputation. You can check for unresolved complaints/disputes for a company/website with the Better Business Bureau, Consumer Reports, Trust-E, or WebAssured.
The “ships in so many days” tells you how long it takes for that company to process your order and have it ready for delivery. The “delivered in so many days” tells you how long
it takes for the Post Office or UPS, for example, to get your order to you. Add both of these and you have the approximate time it will take for you to receive your order. The Federal Trade Commission requires U.S. sellers to ship as promised or within 30 days from the date of the order.
Some websites allow you to make payment by mailing your check or money order. When your check has been approved by your bank (or your credit card payment has been approved), your order has been placed. If the seller, can not meet this FTC deadline, they must cancel your order or give you the option to cancel or receive a refund or credit.
Print a copy of your order, including all correspondence about your order. Include the website’s physical address, telephone number, email address, and return/exchange policies.
Do not use a bank card. Monies are immediately transferred. The U.S. federal consumer credit card protection laws for claims/disputes and the $50 liability do not apply to bank cards – only
credit cards. It is a good idea to specify one credit card for online purchases and deposit monies as needed.
If you believe that a website is committing fraudulent business practices, you
can contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center.
So, now that you have a pretty good idea how to safely shop online with USA sellers, have a wonderful internet shopping experience staying safe in your everyday affairs and cyberspace.