Safe Online Purchasing Practices

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by Barbara J. Feldman on October 22, 2007

With how popular online shopping has become it is no surprise that people have decided to worry about making purchases only to find out later that it was a part of an online scam or fraud. But the good news is that most online scams or frauds are not centered on the venues that allow you to make purchases. However, you still need to be on the look-out for them. In fact one of the most popular online frauds has to do with auction sites, which requires you to make a purchase. Basically what happens on this type of fraud is that you place a bid on an item: you end up winning the bid so you pay the money that you owe. The only problem is that once you have paid the money you never receive the merchandise that you have purchased. The good news is that there are things you can do to ensure that you are not dealing with an online scam or fraud when making purchases online. And PayPal, the company used on eBay, does have some security measures in place, as well as reimbursement policies for fraudulent transactions.

Difficulty rating: Easy to moderate

Step one:

The first thing you need to do to make purchases online is to do some basic research. What you are going to want to do is to find out about all of the popular online scams and frauds and what they look like. The thing about online scams or frauds is that many times they will resemble the more popular ones, which just means that they have been slightly modified.

Step two:

The next thing that you are going to want to do is to make sure that you are making purchases through a secure website. Basically what you are going to want to look for is the https in the address bar when you are making your final purchases. If they are asking for personal information and the https or the closed lock symbol is not there, you do not want to enter in your personal information because this means the site is not secure and anybody can access your information after you have entered it or while you are entering it.

Step three:

If you are on an auction website and are planning on making a purchase, you do face the risk of some online fraud, like what was talked about in the first paragraph of this article. But one thing that you can do is to take some steps to make sure that you are not taken advantage of. If you are bidding on an item you are going to want to check out the sellers reputation and history before you even make the bid, if they have many complaints or a bad reputation, then you want to go elsewhere to bid.

Step four:

Something else that you can do is to pay for the item with PayPal or a credit card that protects you from fraud. This way you will not lose your money if the person does happen to be a fake seller. But you should also report it to the auction site because they will also do everything they can to help get your money back because it is their reputation on the line as well.

Step five:

If you are just making regular online purchases then you are going to want to check the company out with the Better Business Bureau to make sure that they are legit; there is even a division of the Better Business Bureau that deals strictly with online companies. But if you don’t check them out before you make a purchase you might find that the website is gone the day after you made the purchase. You should also call any numbers they have to find out if they work and you should also try to communicate by email to make sure that the email address is valid.


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