1) The biggest drawback...
The biggest drawback to shopping on the Internet is that it's physically impossible to examine items you are purchasing.
The buyer must rely on the descriptive abilities of the seller. If the seller omits an aspect that is very important to the
buyer, the omission can only be found after a delivery has been accepted.
2) What can we learn?
What most of us do in the excitement after making the decision to purchase. Nobody wants to spend 5-10 minutes reading
legalized language before ordering. This, believe it or not, is the largest source of what is reported as scams on the
Internet. In fact, many sellers realize that most buyers never read the TOS so they literally write the rulebook that binds
3) Terms of Service
A Terms Of Service (TOS) statement which must include the grace period the buyer has to examine the merchandise after it
has been delivered. If the site content does not recognize this fact; move on.
4) Shipping Policy
Pay attention to the shipping policy, a company must ship your order within the time stated in its ad. If no time frame is
stated, the merchant must ship the product in 30 days or give you an "Option Notice." This gives you an opportunity to
cancel the order and receive a prompt refund, or agree to the delay.
5) Contact information
Is there contact information on the site. Find out the name of the city, state, country in which the business is registered.
A huge red flag should pop up if the site does not have a contact phone number. Contact information does not mean an online
email form without an email address, another red flag.
6) Identity Theft
Every site that accepts credit cards must be encrypted and protected by the appropriate firewalls. Read the content of the
site to assure yourself that your information will be protected. This information is usually published on the order page.
7) Things to look for
Don't judge the reliability of a website by how good a website looks. It is relatively easy and for anyone to create,
register and promote a website. Check for the prefix https:// . . . in the Uniform Resource Locator box which lists the
websites web address to be sure that a site you are using is secure. Make sure it is https and not just http, the s
indicates that the page is secure. Read your credit card statements as you receive them and be on the lookout for
8) Cash, Credit Cards, Debit Card Or Check?
The safest way to shop on the Internet is with a credit card. In the event something goes wrong, you are protected under
the federal Fair Credit Billing Act. You have the right to dispute charges on your credit card, and you can withhold
payments during a creditor investigation. When it has been determined that your credit was used without authorization, you
are only responsible for the first $50 in charges. You are rarely asked to pay this charge. Do not send cash under any
9) What if you're not satisfied?
Can you return the item for a full refund if you're not satisfied? If you return it, find out who pays the shipping costs
or restocking fees, and when you will receive your order. Check out websites that offer price comparisons and then, compare
"apples to apples on
10) The best deterrent is you
The onus is on the seller to build and earn your trust. Your responsibility as a consumer is to review the site's Terms of
Service and content to ensure that you are dealing with a reputable company or individual. The consumer is ultimately the
best possible deterrent to online fraud. Vigilance and knowing exactly what to look for limits the possibility of fraud.
Reputation/Background Do you recognize the company or individual from whom you are about to purchase? Are they
associated with any company that is immediately recognizable? If you have problems during a transaction, try to work them
out directly with the seller, buyer or site operator. If that doesn't work, file a complaint with: the
Federal Trade Commission.
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