Online Christmas shopping needs care

The Christmas holidays bring more shoppers to purchase online and with increased numbers of shoppers, come increased numbers of scammers, also.  This December is predicted to be the biggest yet for online shopping.  There are a number of issues with which you should familiarize yourself if you intend to do some of your purchasing online this year.

First, do not shop through a search engine.  Search engines are fine for browsing, in order to help determine what it is you would like to purchase and through whom, but they are vulnerable to hackers who could liberate your personal information if you purchase through a search engine connection.  To correct this problem, simply go directly to the website to make your purchases.

While you are there, look for the padlock symbol that indicates you are on a safe site.  Also take note of the web address.  Secure addresses will begin with “https://” instead of beginning with “http://” because the “s” stands for secure.  Secure web pages encrypt your credit card information so it cannot be easily stolen or hacked.

Use credit cards that provide fraud protection.  If anything does get by you, you will have protection from your credit card company against getting stuck with the bill.

Don’t forget your due diligence.  If you are going to shop a retailer, wholesaler, or manufacturer online, check them out first.  You can do this easily enough by typing their name into a search engine and seeing what comes up.  Check for complaints and compliments.  Determine if the seller’s credentials are satisfactory to you before buying online.

Read all of the terms and conditions listed on the website.  Don’t give up any of your consumer rights or protections to buy online.  If the website is asking you to surrender any consumer rights, purchase somewhere else.