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Internet Shopping Safety Tips

Santa’s Big Night Item#929

Hi Puzzlers,

Whether you are gearing up to shop on-line for  Black Friday or Cyber Monday it is important to remember what to look for and what to avoid to make your on-line shopping experience safe. Below is our annual list of internet shopping safety tips. We added an asterisk to our newest tips so you can identify them quickly.

Trust your instincts – If you have a funny feeling about the site check it out before placing the order. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is a scam. Several sites like Epinions.com or BizRate have customer evaluations which can help you determine a company’s legitimacy.

Protect your PC – Make sure your personal computer has recent updates installed for Spam filters, anti-virus and anti-spy software, and a secure firewall.

Trusted Websites – Shoppers should know whom they are dealing with. Confirm the online seller’s physical address and phone number.  Anyone can set up an online store under any name. Check for security seals, such as the tiny padlock icon and the http (URL) has an “s” in it. The https:// stands for secure.

*Personal Information ” Do not give any personal information ever!  On-line stores do not need your social security number or birthdate. So never give it to them and be suspicious if you are asked for it directly or indirectly in a pop-up (phising). Real companies would not ask for this type of information.  Always remember to give the least amount of information about yourself as possible.

Keep your Web browser updated – “Internet Explorer 9″ provides another layer of protection with Web sites that use Extended Validation (EV) Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificates. The address bar turns green and has both https and the closed padlock. An EV SSL certificate not only helps ensure that communication with a Web site is secure, but it also includes information about the legitimacy of the Web site, which has been confirmed by the Certification Authority (CA) issuing the SSL Certificate.”

Don’t shop using Wi-Fi – When using Wi-Fi at a coffee shop, hotel, airport, or restaurant, you are making yourself vulnerable to identity theft. Your iPhone, Blackberry, Smartphone and laptop can easily be hacked on a free or paid public Wi-Fi spot. 

Pay by credit or charge card – By using a credit or charge card you are protected by the

Fair Credit Billing Act. This law gives you the right to dispute charges and temporarily withhold payment while the credit card company investigates your claims. Never use your debit card, as you have no rights protecting you from fraud or theft. Try to use just one credit card for all your purchases; this will make it easier to spot fraudulent charges.

Insure the safe delivery of your item – If you’re concerned about the safety of your package if there’s no one home to receive it, request it be sent with a signature required. Or, it may be safer to have the package delivered to your office.

Refund Policies and Delivery Dates -Make sure you know if you can return the item for a full refund and who pays the shipping for the return. Is the refund for a store credit or cash refund? Know when you should expect delivery of your item.

Print & Save – Keep documentation of your order. If confirmation was sent by email, keep the email and save any and all correspondence with the retailer.

Be ComfortableWear comfortable slippers, get a comfortable chair and pour a nice cup of tea, you could be at your computer for hours!
*Check Statements ” Go online to monitor your account(s) and check it for fraudulent charges. Do not wait for the statement!  Check your account(s) every few days to make sure all is well.  If you see something wrong, address the issue immediately by PHONE! This will serve as a formal complaint/claim and the credit card company can begin looking into the fraudulent charge(s).  Finally do not pay the bill until the charges are accurate.
*Relieve Stress ” If all this shopping has got you stressed, quickly make your way to your favorite puzzling spot and start puzzling.  As you know, puzzling is one of the best ways to reduce stress and anxiety.
Happy Puzzling!