Need To Know: Safe Online Shopping

by Barbara J. Feldman on November 28, 2007

There are many people who shop online and have done so for several years without incident. Considering all of the internet transactions that take place, the percentage of those that are fraudulent or illegitimate is very small. Nonetheless, it is vital that you do not dismiss the risks and think, “it could never happen to me.” The wise thing to do is empower yourself with the knowledge of what you can do to further reduce the likelihood of being an easy target for thieves and scam artists. With all of the possible victims of such crimes as credit card fraud, if you can make yourself a challenge for the thieves, it is most likely that they will simply move on to another less secure victim.

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When it comes to safe online shopping and credit card fraud protection simply knowing what to look for and being suspicious of sites that do not seem right is going to help you a great deal. If you can avoid a trouble site all together than you will not need to reinforce your security defenses in so many other ways. So what does a suspicious site look like? First of all a site whose operators have the intent to take advantage of you are normally not going to go to great lengths to ensure your security while shopping on their site. Even well intentioned companies who do not protect their sites can be used by thieves for gain. You can check the level of the security on each site in two ways. The first is to look at the web address. If it begins with “https” then the site has been registered and received a certificate of credibility. You can also look for a padlock symbol in your browser box. If this symbol is on the page you should be able to click on it and it will tell you if the safety certificate of the website is still current and to what web address the certificate was actually issued (to protect against thieves who would just copy and paste this symbol from another site). Checking for these two safety features is going to help you filter out a great deal of those companies that you may not be able to shop with safely.

Still, there are more things that you should know when it comes to safe online shopping and credit card fraud protection. Another important aspect of online security that you should always be aware of is your own good judgment. Most online shoppers can tell the difference between a legitimate site and one that is unsafe. These differences are made manifest in the claims that the site makes, the requests for specific personal information, and the lack of devotion to customer service. Do not fall for a claim that sounds too good to be true. If you are looking for a deal on a product and some site is offering that product for significantly less than other suppliers you ought to be suspicious. Additionally, when navigating a vendor’s site you should never enter information in a pop-up box or respond to a request to e-mail personal information. Oftentimes hackers are able to get your information by using these pop-up requests on legitimate sites to try to trick you into thinking that these requests are actually being made by the vendor. Your birth date and social security number are two pieces of information that should never be required to make a purchase. Never give them out. Most people who are only in the vendor industry for dishonest reasons are not going to waste their time carefully mapping out return policies, writing up bogus customer satisfaction testimonials, and inventing guarantees. Therefore, being on the lookout for carelessness, sloppy wording, and just generally being in tune to when you feel like something just isn’t right is actually a great tool to use when shopping online.

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Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "Need To Know: Safe Online Shopping." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 28 Nov. 2007. Web. 20 Nov. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/tech/1237/need-to-know-safe-online-shopping/ >.