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Shop Safely Online

The Internet provides fast, convenient shopping without the crowds. But is it safe? There are steps you can take to shop securely while snapping up the good deals! Here are some tips.

Always use a secure computer.

  • A work computer might be a good option as it probably has better firewalls and less freeware, adware, and file sharing activity, all of which translate to better security and fewer viruses.
  • Ensure that the computer has up-to-date anti-virus software.
  • When using public machines, log out completely from all sites when finished.

Use familiar websites and stores.

  • Look for the security icon at the bottom of the browser window before entering any personal information.
  • Check the Better Business Bureau and avoid merchants with a pattern of unresponsiveness to consumer complaints.
  • Keep receipts.
  • Never buy anything from unsolicited e-mail, which is usually a scam.

Shop with your credit card.

  • Credit cards have built-in protection for fraud. Even if something shady does happen, federal law limits your liability to $50 as long as you report the fraud in a timely manner.
  • Review credit card and bank statements monthly to ensure all transactions are yours.
  • The Post says a debit card provides protections similar to those of a credit card, but if a problem occurs in a debit transaction your bank account could be overdrawn while the issue is attended to. Credit card protection is fast and easy.
  • Never send cash in the mail.

Consider flexible payment options.

  • PayPal is a safe, easy way to send money without compromising security.
  • Some credit card issuers offer one-time use card numbers for even stronger security, though these can be a hassle.
  • You'll frequently be given the option to buy now, pay later. Delaying payment can be convenient, but be careful not to get in over your head. Always spend within your means and avoid piling up credit card balances for gifts, entertainment and luxury items.