Oh, you better watch out: Online shopping
December 31st, 2016 | James T. Shoemaker
December 12, 2016 - Attorney Jim Shoemaker - One of the first known web purchases took place in 1994 – a pepperoni pizza with mushrooms and extra cheese from Pizza Hut. A year later, amazon.com opened for business.
Online shopping has since grown into a retail mainstay, offering many benefits such as convenience, better selection, and great deals. There are, however, risks – namely identity theft and financial fraud. Fortunately, Jim Shoemaker, Attorney at HKQ Law notes that “there are steps you can take to protect yourself when shopping online”.
Online shopping offers many benefits. Such as convenience, better selection, and great deals. There are, however, risks – namely identity theft and financial fraud. Fortunately, Jim Shoemaker, Attorney at HKQ Law notes that “there are steps you can take to protect yourself when shopping online”.
Do business with a reputable merchant.
Make sure that you are dealing with an established vendor before supplying any personal or financial information. Some malicious websites appear to be legitimate. Check the domain name (Internet address) that appears at the top of your browser. Beware of any site whose name has even the slightest change – extra words or letters, misspellings – from a legitimate website. Also note any unusual extensions at the end of the address such as “.mn”, which can indicate a foreign country. (In this case, Mongolia.) If you’re on an unfamiliar website, read reviews to see if other consumers’ experience with the site. But be skeptical of reviews that lack detail, or are too positive. Avoid any website that doesn't provide a physical address, or a phone number, which can be verified.
Use safe payment options.
Don’t pay via wire transfer, especially if the payment is being sent overseas. Use credit cards. Laws limit your liability for fraudulent credit card charges. You may not have the same level of protection for your debit cards, which draw money directly from your bank account. You can minimize potential losses by using a single, low-limit credit card to make all of your online purchases. If your card requires a pin, never share it with anyone.
Protect your personal and financial information.
Check to be sure the website is security enabled. Make sure that addresses of ordering pages always begin with "https://" instead of just "http://" The "s" means it is secure. Limit the type of business you conduct over open public Wi-Fi connections. If you create an account with an online merchant, use a strong password.
Never give out your social security number as a verification for any type of purchase. Make sure your bank has your current email address and phone number so they can reach you if there is any suspicious activity. Let your bank know if you will be traveling outside of your area, and check your account balance frequently. Report any unusual activity immediately.
Find out how your information will be stored and whether it will be shared with third parties.
Be cautious about incredible bargains.
Research prices. Similar items typically fall into a general price range. If a price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Scammers use ridiculously low prices just to obtain personal and financial information.
Keep your devices “clean”.
Take steps to make sure all your web-connected devices ? including PCs, smartphones and tablets ? are free from malware and infections. Don’t download files or click on links from unfamiliar sources.
Beware of bogus emails.
Scammers may attempt to gather information by sending emails requesting that you confirm purchase or account information. Don’t respond to emails unless you’re sure that they’re legitimate. "Scammer grammar" – frequent misspellings and grammatical errors should always be a red flag. When in doubt, throw it out.
Check your bank statements.
Keep a record of your purchases and copies of confirmation pages, so you compare them to your statements. If there is a discrepancy, report it immediately.