Tips for Safely Shopping Online
The Internet has certainly made things easier to shop at all hours of the night and buy from stores you normally wouldn’t have access to. However, online shoppers should learn to distinguish between the legitimate shops and the fraudulent sellers.
- Know who you are purchasing from: Verify the seller with your local consumer protection agency and the Better Business Bureau. Surf the web for feedback forums to read up on people’s experience with the seller. Make sure you have the seller’s contact information in case you have to locate them later.
- Understand how the seller handles complaints: Read up on the seller’s website and learn how they handle their complaints. Check to see if they are obliged to meet certain standards within their respective country.
- Be wary if there are no complaints:Deceptive sellers can open and close shop overnight. If you don’t find complaints on the seller, it doesn’t mean that they are genuine.
- Be on guard for super low prices or rebates that are too good to be true:The seller may in fact not have any merchandise at all to send or may not fulfill the promised rebate.
- Get the low down on the offer:A legitimate shop provides all the details on the product, price, delivery time and refund policies, along with the terms of the warranty.
- Don’t get pressured:You should be given the time to make a decision. If you are demanded to make the purchase quickly or the seller refuses to accept your “no” for an answer, then it could be a scam.
- Watch out for an unsolicited email, it could be fraudulent:If you know the company that sent you the email and you don’t want to receive any more emails, you may simply ask to be removed from the list. However, if you respond to an unknown sender, your email address may be validated by the sender and you might receive even more unsolicited emails. The best way to deal with unsolicited emails is to simply delete them.
- Spot the impostors:You might receive an email that seems as if it is connected to a legitimate business or has a Web site that looks genuine. If you have doubts, search for the company yourself and verify the email with the business.
- Protect your private information:Never provide your credit card or bank information unless you are paying for something. Social security numbers are not needed unless you are applying for credit.
- Buy safely:Using credit cards are the best way to assure your online purchases since you may dispute the charges if you never received the item or the offer was misrepresented.
Consumer Tips for Avoiding Phishing Scams
Identity thieves are targeting the personal information stored on your computer. Here are some basic tips on how to use the Internet safely.
- Fishing Out the Phishing Scams: Recognize the phishing scams which typically involve phony emails and web sites that mimic companies in order to swindle citizens of their personal information. Legitimate companies never request user names, passwords, credit card numbers or social security by email. If you are troubled by your account, get in touch with the company directly.
- Install all-inclusive security software and update it frequently: Deceitful emails can contain malicious software which can harm your computer or track your web activities, unbeknownst to you. Make sure an Internet security suite* is installed on your computer and is kept up to date.
- Don’t Click the Link, It Could be a Trick: Do not click links or even cut and paste links from emails into your browser. Phishers are able to make links look like trustworthy site, but in fact send you to a different site. Instead, type in personally the company’s correct Web address.**
- Never Enter Personal Info on Pop-up Screens: Phishers sometimes guide computer users to seemingly legitimate sites, but then an illicit pop-up screen appears with a form and fill-in blanks for personal information. Install pop-up blocking software to help avoid this type of phishing attack.
- Verify the Web Site’s Security Status: When entering personal information on a company’s web site, check that the site is secure: a padlock icon appears on the browser’s status bar, or the URL (web address) reads “https:”. The “s” in https signifies “secure.” Be aware that these indications are not fail-safe since security icons may be forged. Computer users can also look for a seal such as the BBB Accredited Business seal on home pages, which notifies users if the company is accredited and meets certain standards.
- Use Nonsensical, Long Passwords: Create passwords that use upper and lower case letters, numbers, special characters and are longer than six characters. It’s also wise to create nonsensical, random passwords that do not relate to your life such as a favorite baseball team. Instead of “123456,” a better case for a password would be “w39!BTu82.” Last, but not least, use different passwords for separate accounts and change them regularly.
5 Tips To Avoid E-card Scams
E-greeting cards have become a popular way to reach out to friends and family at holiday time and on special occasions. Regrettably, cybercriminals also take advantage of the growing popularity of e-cards by duping consumers into downloading malware. You can safeguard yourself, your friends, and your family against e-card scams by following the tips below.
- Don't open attachments: Most legitimate e-cards are links to the company's website that allow you to go directly to your card. Avoid attachments and don't download anything from a source you don't recognize.
- When in doubt, delete: If something looks a little strange or “phishy,” such as the name of the sender or vague subject lines, just delete the card. It's better to do that than run the risk of getting a virus.
- Know where you’re going online: Use security software* that detects sites that push online scams, adware installations, attachments filled with viruses and other downloads that could harm your system.
- Know what to look for: While most e-card scams actually look legitimate, there are usually some telltale signs to look for. Watch out for misspelled words or names, not knowing who sent you the card, a disguised name (such as Your Friend, A Secret Admirer, etc.), or an odd URL.
- Always read the fine print before accepting any terms: Make sure you actually read the fine print before agreeing to anything. Some e-card scams list in their terms that they can send e-mail to everyone in your address book. Make sure you know what you are agreeing to.