Q: I know buying online is becoming more and more commonplace, so what should I be doing to make sure I and my data stay safe and secure?
Today, just about anyone can sell on the internet, and professional-looking store templates are cheap and easy to set up. As a result, you need to take some important steps to verify the trustworthiness of online merchants before you take out your credit card. Here are 5 quick tips you should follow when shopping on the web.
1. Ensure that your personal information is being protected. Check the url of the website to make sure it reads https to indicate a secure server, which means it will encrypt your data (ex. credit card number) as it is processed.
2. If you’re considering buying from an unfamiliar company, do a search to see what other shoppers have to say. You can check large review sites such as Epinoins.com and Bizrate, or search its name on Google (but be sure the sites in the results aren’t owned by the company itself or its affiliates).
3. Although you should be very careful when entering your information, credit card transactions are the preferred method of online purchasing, as they give you the most protection thanks to the Fair Credit Billing Act.
4. Study the fine print before buying. An online offer that seems great might just be an introductory trial price with a much higher monthly fee after a set period. Do a little extra homework before purchasing and you will avoid unpleasant surprises later.