10 Ways to Protect Yourself
While Shopping Online this Season
Online shopping is taking off this Christmas holiday season.
One study indicates that 32% of Canadians will shop online
this year, up from 23% just a year ago. And in the US, Jupiter
Research has indicated they expect to see some $16.8 billion
in online shopping, an increase of 21% from the prior year.
If true, that means shopping online will total some 7.7%
of all holiday sales this Christmas season.
Canadians should take the time to ensure they enjoy a safe
online shopping experience. To do that, they should follow
a number of simple, common sense procedures while they are
Look for the latest credit card password procedures, such
as Verified by Visa.
In the last year, each major credit card issuer has come up
with a secure system online that involves use of a password
known only to the credit card owner. This presents to you
the highest form of online security possible when shopping,
and so you should look for sites that support these new standards.
Check the return/refund, warranty, guarantee and other policies.
Take the time to ensure that you are dealing with a reputable,
reliable merchant that will offer you the same shopping peace-of-mind
that you would get elsewhere. If the online merchant doesn't
post sufficient information to provide you a degree of comfort
about such policies, consider taking your business elsewhere.
Make sure that the checkout process is secure
Always make sure that you are using a site that provides full
"encryption" over the credit card transaction, which
helps to ensure that your credit card information can't be
accessed while it is in transit. You can determine this by
looking for a small "padlock" at the bottom of your
browser screen, or by a message indicating that you are entering
a secure site.
Look for privacy and security policies
A company that is very conscious about security issues will
most often post some information online for you to read. Take
the time to look for the security and privacy policies that
the online store might have posted and read them, since this
will give you more comfort that you are shopping with a site
that will carefully guard your credit card and personal information.
If concerned, do due diligence
If you are dealing with an online store, but are unsure
whether they are reliable and credible, do a search for them
on the Internet, to see if other consumers have expressed
concern or have had positive or negative experiences.
Understand the "safe-shopping" policies established
by the issuer of your credit card
Take the time to understand the guarantees that your card-issuer
offers with respect to shopping online. You will likely find
that even if you are subjected to an online fraud, you will
not be liable for any loss greater than $50, which should
put your mind to rest.
Often what might seem to you to be a bargain might not be,
once you factor in other costs, or if you don't consider that
there might be other online stores offering the same product
or service at a lower cost. Take the time to look at alternatives.
Beware of hidden shipping, duty and other costs
Many of those who shop online are surprised by the hidden
charges that were not well-documented on the site. Make sure
you understand all the potential charges before committing
to a purchase, and if something seems unclear -- ask! Look
for sites that clearly post such charges as part of the checkout
process, or post the information elsewhere on their site.
Keep receipts and other documentation
Make sure you print out a copy of the receipt once you've
finished the purchase. In addition, if the online store offers
to send you a copy of the receipt by e-mail, take advantage
of this option.
The common complaint of every online Christmas shopper
is that they ordered too late to ensure delivery of their
goods by Christmas. Shop early -- and shop often!
For more information about unique trends occurring with Christmas
shopping online, as well as a variety of tips for people so
that they can ensure they enjoy a secure and safe online shopping
InternetSecure professionals about merchant accounts and secure
credit card processing.