Online Shopping Safety

In today's electronic world, it is extremely easy to shop and purchase goods or services on your computer, without ever leaving your home. Certainly, there are many benefits — cyber storefronts are always open and bargains are abundant. It is simple to comparison shop with the click of your mouse, and sellers can offer lower prices because they do not have to pay premium overhead costs for rent or sales clerks.

But, is it safe to shop online? The NCL (National Consumer League) National Fraud Information Center (http://www.fraud.org/) has gathered statistics related to complaints related to the Top Ten Internet Scams that indicate Fraud Trends. The period of January to December 2007 showed that 13% of all complaints were related to goods never delivered or misrepresented after purchase at an online auction. 23% of the complaints were related to goods never delivered or misrepresented after purchase online, but not through an auction. Therefore, over one-third of all complaints for 2007 were the result of online shopping fraud.

The upside is that there are steps you can take to protect yourself and enjoy the benefits of shopping online.

What can you do?

You can take numerous security precautions while shopping online. The following tips provide excellent points from which to start:

What about Internet auctions?

The same rules mentioned above apply to online auctions. In addition, it is advisable to become familiar with the site before bidding. This includes ascertaining what protections are available to auction buyers, and gleaning as much information as possible about the seller.

What can I do if I need help?

If you have problems with an online shopping transaction, try to reconcile directly with the product seller or auction site director. If you cannot resolve the issue, contact and file a complaint with one or more of the following:

The bottom line!

You can take advantage of the Internet's great shopping opportunities and still have peace of mind.

These helpful tips are provided by Digital Defense, Inc., a computer security company working with your bank as a responsible member of the community to help insure the privacy and security of our nation's financial information.