Online shopping is easy, but there are security issues to keep in mind.
Even if you consider yourself a seasoned online shopper, it's always worth a reminder to make sure your experience is the safest it can be. Follow these tips to minimize online shopping risk.
Site security:Never enter your payment info on a page that is not encrypted. Check for a lock in the address bar, or “https” instead of “http”. This is generated when a site has an SSL Certificate.
SSL Certificate:Check that the site has a current, valid SSL certificate, to verify encryption, site security and business identity. If a site has one, you'll find the icon somewhere on the home page, usually at the bottom.
Pay with a Credit Card:Use a credit card rather than a debit card if possible, as that offers you more protection and reduced liability in the event of a problem. If your bank offers them, virtual card numbers are a great idea for online purchases. Using Paypal is another secure option.
Log Out:If you’re using a shared machine, always log out of the store website and clear your browser’s history when you are finished ordering something.
Is your checkout information being stored?At GunGoddess.com, we only store address and contact information (and only if you create a customer account), we never store your payment information. We also give you the option of checking out as a guest, without creating an account.
What are you buying? Read the product description, especially any fine print. Words like "refurbished," "vintage," or "close-out" may indicate that the product is not new, while name-brand items with too-good-to-be-true prices could be counterfeit.
What will the total cost be, including shipping? Watch for hidden extras! At GunGoddess.com, you can view your cart and see all available shipping options & costs before you even start your checkout. And if your order is over $100, it ships free!
Check return, refund and exchange policies: This process should be straightforward. Read the fine print! Is a re-stocking or other fee assessed if you make a return?
Check for contact phone numbers and email address info: Does a live person answer the phone? If there’s no way to get in touch with the merchant, be wary of placing an order.
Check the merchant’s customer testimonials and reviews: They will tell you a lot about how that merchant does business!
Keep a paper trail: Print and save records of your online transactions. Check your credit card statements as soon as you get them to make sure there aren’t any unauthorized charges.
Did you know about the Internet Crimes Complaint Center? They can help if you believe you have been defrauded in an online transaction. More info here: www.ic3.gov
If you've experienced a problem that you've been unable to resolve with a merchant, these are additional helpful resources: