Be a Savvy Online Shopper

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Online shopping can be a convenient way to purchase your holiday presents. However, through the ease and convenience of online shopping lurks the possibility of fraud and identity theft, or simply the surprise of a different product than expected arriving on your doorstep. Take these easy steps to minimize some unwanted holiday surprises.

First, shop at well established online businesses. Sites that adhere to the highest standards often have third-party seals of approval ,such as the Better Business Bureau Reliability Program or TRUSTe. You can also refer to third party sites such as cnet.com or epinions.com for reviews of products and stores by your fellow shoppers. Second, keep your personal information private. If you feel uncomfortable about sharing certain information, you probably shouldn’t. Fill out only the information needed and that you feel comfortable sharing. Third, use your credit card. If things do go awry and you never receive the package, or you have a dispute with the online vendor, your credit card company can help with the disputed charges. Finally, make sure all of your browsers and operating systems are updated. As identity thieves get savvier, it is even more important to make sure your tools have the latest encryption. When transmitting secure information, make sure you are on a secure page. If the website is using secure technology, the web address begins with an https and a tiny locked padlock will appear in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. Through it all, have fun bargain hunting and be an aware and savvy online shopper.