Shopping online for holiday gifts is both easy and exciting. You can find all kinds of unique gifts on the Internet that you simply would not be able to find at your local stores. There are also many deals to be had when you shop online. Not to mention the added convenience of being able to ship your gift right to the people on your list rather than dealing with long lines at the post office and the hassles of wrapping a gift for shipping yourself.
For all of the advantages that shopping online presents, there are still some very real disadvantages that keep thousands off of their computers. This is the threat that online shopping is not safe. It is true that there are dishonest people out there who will be looking to take advantage of you if you give them the chance. So, make sure that you follow these safety tips for online Christmas shopping:
1.Use a secure server — Before entering any kind of personal or credit card information you need to make sure that the server you are using is secure. This entails looking at the address in the address bar. If it starts with https (not http) that is one sign that you are secure. Another sign of security is a closed padlock (you can also make sure that this padlock is also on your status bar). You should also make sure that your browser is a newer version so that the information that you are both sending and receiving is secure.
2.Go with a name you trust — Big name stores carry with them a reputation for dependability. Small operations could be here today and gone tomorrow. Before making a purchase from a smaller company, make sure that you have working contact numbers, some sort of return policy, and that the company does not have a history of complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau.
3.Don’t use debit cards to shop online — When you use a debit card online you are not protected under the Fair Credit Billing Act. This act protects those whose credit card is used unlawfully and only holds the owner liable for $50. A debit card transaction has no such protection and you could be out all of the money that is stolen from you.
4.Print it out — In the case that an Internet purchase goes sour, you are going to need some evidence to prove your story. You should always print out your order, the return policy, company information, specific product information and warranty details.
5.Compare prices — Have you ever heard the phrase “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Well, this is especially true with online shopping. If a price is too low it is good to be suspicious. Some fraudulent companies use what is called a “bait and switch deal” where the low price is the bait but then what you get is a switch from what you thought you were paying for. It is a common practice among bad e-retailers to do this because of the ease that they have in misrepresenting through misleading descriptions and pictures.
6.Call it in — Most Internet companies are happy to take an order over the phone if you are not comfortable entering your credit card information online. Never send a check, or even worse, cash to a retailer! Using a credit card is far less dangerous even if something were to go wrong.
7.Create a secure password — Make sure your account information is safe when you do business online this Christmas and all year by creating a password that is secure. A password needs to be case sensitive, have numbers and letters, and be difficult for a thief to guess. One suggestion is to never use a password that can be found in the dictionary.