- Use trustworthy websites – You can check online retailers out at www.bbb.org.
- Beware of phishing scams– Legitimate businesses do not send e-mails claiming problems with an order or an account to lure the “buyer” into revealing financial information. If you receive this type of e-mail, you should call the contact number on the website where the purchase was made to confirm that there really is a problem with the transaction.
- Confirm your online purchase is secure – You should only enter personal information such as credit card numbers in secure, encrypted websites. Look in the address box for the “s” in https:// and in the lower-right corner for the “lock” symbol before paying.
- Pay with a credit card – When you are shopping online, you should pay with a credit card because credit cards offer you the most buyer protections. Under federal law, you can dispute the charges if you do not receive the item. You also have dispute rights if there are unauthorized charges on your credit card. Many card issuers have “zero liability” policies which will protect you if your credit card number is stolen.
- Keep documentation of your order. After completing the online order process, you should get a confirmation of your order. The BBB recommends saving the confirmation for future reference and as a record of the purchase.
- Check your credit card statements often – Don’t wait for paper statements to arrive in the mail a month later. The BBB recommends that you check your credit card statements and banking account online for suspicious activity at least once a week.
- Know your rights – Federal law requires that orders made by mail, phone or online be shipped by the date promised or, if no delivery time was stated, within 30 days. If the products you ordered aren’t shipped on time, you can cancel your order and demand a refund. There is no general three-day cancellation right, but you do have the right to reject merchandise if it’s defective or was misrepresented. Otherwise, it’s the company’s policies that determine if you can cancel the purchase and receive a refund or credit. (Source)
Has something like this every happened to you? How do you protect yourself?