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Cyber (Crook) Monday: 8 Tips for Safer Online Shopping

Posted By Sid Kirchheimer On November 26, 2013 @ 1:48 pm In Scam Alert | Comments Disabled

credit cards [1]Whether your online holiday shopping [2] begins Bird Day, Black Friday or Cyber Monday – or is already history – here’s a refresher course on how to do it more safely.

  • Use a credit card. Payments can be withheld if there’s a dispute with a store, and if the card is stolen, you won’t have to pay more than $50 of fraudulent charges. With a debit card, you can’t withhold payments – the store is paid directly from your bank account. And if your card is stolen, you could be liable for up to $500, depending on when you report it.
  • Pay close attention to website addresses resulting from online searches of popular gift names – or even words like “toys” and “discount.” Before clicking on links, look for missing letters, misspellings or other tweaks of a legitimate company, such those as ending in co.mn [3] indicating a Mongolia-based website. Also avoid unrecognized vendors. Scammer-run rogue websites may promise deals but deliver malware or identity theft.
  • Never provide your credit card or other sensitive information on any page without an “https://” instead of merely “http://”. The “S” is for “secure.” Even with an “https://” avoid using public Wi-Fi hotspots for online shopping or other financial transactions.


>> Get discounts on electronics with your AARP Member Advantages. [4]

  • Before ordering, check the “Contact Us” page for a phone number and physical address. Also read the “Terms and Conditions” link detailing return policies and such. Unlike legitimate vendors, bogus websites are less likely to post these - or have them in a suspicious manner, such as providing only a fax number or post office box.
  • If shopping at online auction sites, never trust offers that come after you lost a bid but a seller claims to offer you the merchandise off-site.
  • At Craigslist or when answering classified ads, deal only with sellers who provide a phone number that you can verify. Don’t rely solely on email correspondence. Assume any request for wire-transfer payment is a scam; also be suspicious of prepaid debit card transactions. Using Paypal or a credit card is your safest bet [5].
  • Don’t believe “too-good-to-be-true” prices from private sellers, or those tied to hard-luck stories (such as a need to sell quickly because of divorce or military deployment). These are common scams to get advance payment – and you’ll likely get no merchandise.
  • Think twice before buying gift cards from online auctions. History shows they are often counterfeit or have already been redeemed. Your safest option is to buy them from a company’s website or the store’s customer service counter.


>> Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter [6]


Also of Interest


See the AARP home page [11] for deals, savings tips, trivia and more.


Article printed from AARP: http://blog.aarp.org

URL to article: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/11/26/cyber-crook-monday-8-tips-for-safer-online-shopping/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://blog.aarp.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/8385008715_8d006e563b.jpg

[2] online holiday shopping: http://www.aarp.org/money/budgeting-saving/info-08-2012/cheapest-days-to-shop-online.html?intcmp=AE-BLIL-DOTORG

[3] co.mn: http://co.mn

[4] >> Get discounts on electronics with your AARP Member Advantages.: http://discounts.aarp.org/technology/index/uSource/HCTN?intcmp=AE-BL-TECH-DISC

[5] safest bet: http://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-11-2010/scam_alert_clicking_on_cyber_monday_.html?intcmp=AE-BLIL-DOTORG

[6] >> Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter: http://www.aarp.org/online-community/people/subscribeFromEmail.action?id=19061&intcmp=ILC-EMAIL-SUB-HLTH

[7] Holiday Shopping: Will You Spend Less?: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/11/12/holiday-shopping-will-you-spend-less/?intcmp=AE-ENDART1-BL-REL

[8] Slideshow: 10 Common Spending Regrets: http://www.aarp.org/money/budgeting-saving/info-08-2013/10-common-spending-regrets-photo.html#slide1?intcmp=AE-ENDART2-BL-BOS

[9] Please give to the Typhoon Haiyan relief fund to maximize donations for those in need.: http://www.aarp.org/disasterrelief?intcmp=AE-BL-QKTK-SOC-TYPHOON-RELIEF13

[10] Join AARP: https://appsec.aarp.org/MSS/join/application?keycode=U9ZTPH9&intcmp=AE-ENDART3-BL-MEM

[11] AARP home page: http://www.aarp.org/?intcmp=AE-ENDART3-BL-HP

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