Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Holiday Online Shopping Safety Tips

Holiday Online Shopping Safety Tips

Online holiday shopping offers numerous conveniences over driving in heavy traffic, tromping though snow, lack of parking, and last-minute crowds. You can do all of your holiday shopping sitting in the comfort of your own home but, you need to be on your guard. Online shopping can have a few extra pitfalls, and there are always a few con artists out there waiting to separate you from your Christmas gift money.

Tis the season to shop online... and by following the tips below, your holiday will be a happy one.

  • Evaluate the Seller - Purchase gifts through well-known online retailers that disclose full contact information. Just because an online store has a nifty website doesn't mean it has good business practices.
  • Always ensure that online financial transactions are secure by checking the bottom right corner of the browser window. A little yellow lock will appear on secure sites.
  • Check your bank statements regularly and investigate suspicious charges.
  • Do not give out personal or financial information in response to unsolicited email. Do not click links in any email when conducting financial transactions.
  • If you think you’ve been phished, immediately visit
  • Record the Transaction - you have submitted your credit card and shipping information, you will likely land on a "Thank You" page. This page usually contains a transaction receipt and transaction number. Print this page for your records.In some cases, you will also receive a receipt by email. Again, printing the email and saving it is wise in case you have computer problems in the future.
  • Always donate to charities directly, even after receiving emails requesting donations.
  • When participating in online auctions such as ebay, check the seller’s references and feedback ratings. If purchasing a high-value item, consider using an online escrow service.
  • Do not user your primary email address when shopping since you may inadvertently be signed up for excessive newsletters or marketing emails. Use a disposable account.
  • Do not venture online without securing your PC. A good firewall is essential, and antivirus, anti-spyware and spam protection are also critical. Keep up with security update downloads.

Also, to save money, don’t forget to always check for a coupon or promotional code before checking out. Visiting and getting a coupon only takes a few seconds and could save you anything from free shipping to 15% off or more.

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