In 2014, consumer spending through the internet hit a record high of $65.1 billion. An increasing number of people are drawn to the simplicity and seamlessness of shopping online and more of them are even willing to spend higher amounts. However, the likelihood of being an internet fraud victim are likewise growing. The Internet National Fraud Center Watch revealed that during the first half of 2015, fraud victims lost about an average of 2,579. Compare that to the amount documented for the entire 2014, which was at $895 on average. Grievances associated with basic goods acquisitions (goods that were by no means misrepresented or received) made up for about 30% of the complaints related to internet fraud, and auction buys (goods that were never misrepresented or received) made it to the top with 44%.
Even though many e-commerce sites are trustworthy and have implemented the required safety measures in order to protect their customers, you still have to proceed very carefully. When purchasing online, please think about these simple steps:
- Make use of just one credit card, if possible, one which has a low credit limit, whenever you buy something online. Do not use a debit card or an ATM.
- Be cautious about unrequested offers by different sellers. The Internet National Fraud Information Center Watch said internet scammers used email as a method of contact and this has increased by 22% in 2004. Even though the offer could be genuine, spammers prefer to utilize this strategy to side-step reliable websites that offer protection to consumers when buying online.
- Deal only with trustworthy e-commerce sites that have a telephone number and street address listed on their site in the event that you have to get in touch with them directly.
- Look for a lock sign in your status bar right at the bottom of the window of your web browser on your computer. Furthermore, don’t give out your information in case the site address does not begin with “https” (an indication that the website making use of a secure server).
- Select verified sellers only. Find out if the merchant is a confirmed affiliate of an established 3rd party like the Better Business Bureau, VeriSign, or even Guardian eCommerce. All these third-party websites see to it that online customers are going to be secured when purchasing or performing e-commerce dealings.
- Make sure that the posted date of delivery is acceptable. If you haven’t worked with the seller regularly, be skeptical of any site that says the delivery is going to be postponed by at least 20 days. Shipping and delivery dates of between 7 and 10 days are standard.
- Maintain a paper trail for all of your online purchases. Print an actual copy of your transaction and keep it safe in case you need it in the future.
- Be cautious about website deals that seems unrealistic. The web is filled with make money fast hoaxes and fake advertising promises. Check out all statements carefully before going forward.
- Contact your local Department of Consumer Affairs and ask for help in case you don’t get what you purchased, and if the seller does not reply to your calls or emails,
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