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Online Shopping - Protect Yourself & Never Be Scammed Again

This article may be reprinted provided the resource box, Web
address and copyright information remain.

With the holiday season upon us, more and more people will be
turning to the Internet in order to complete their shopping from the
comfort of their own home. You may be one of them. While
online shopping does offer a world of conveniences, it also -
especially now - offers a cesspool filled with those who want
to take your money and run. Can you confidentially shop online?
Of course... provided you learn to protect yourself!

There are several things that can act as signposts for both
legitimate and unscrupulous businesses. Keeping these in mind,
and taking just a few extra steps, can make all the difference
in dealing with a reputable business or the Grinch That Stole

1. Know The Worldwide Web Is A Huge Place

It would truly surprise me if one, and only one, Web site had
exclusive sales for a product or service. In the majority of
cases, you can find the exact same product from dozens of
differentsites. Keep this in mind when someone tries to "railroad"
you intobuying from them right that minute or missing out
forever. It simply isn't true most of the time.

2. Pay Attention To Site Appearance

Those who are serious about their online business will make an
extra effort to portray professionalism. When you see a site
that looks "homemade", it probably is. These sites are often
thrown together on the spur of the moment. No money is invested
in appearance because the business has no plans to stick around.

Granted, there are a few "homemade" looking sites owned and
operated by legitimate businesses. But keep this in mind... a
company who is unwilling or unable to invest the needed funds
into their Web site is also usually unstable.

3. Use A Credit Card

When buying online, always use a credit card. Why? It offers the
most protection you can currently get online. If you experience
credit card fraud, you're protected. If a company charges funds
to your account and does not deliver, you're protected. If you
can't reach the company for a return, etc... you're protected.

Other services, such as email payment services or traditional
paper checks, don't offer any protection at all.

4. Secured Servers Only

When you enter a shopping cart, or other online payment system,
be sure to check for one of two things. Just because the Web
site copy states that the server is secured doesn't mean it is.
In the "address" line of your browser, you should see an address
that begins with "httpS://". This "S" stands for secured and will
not appear unless the transaction is encrypted.

The other clue to look for is a gold lock in the lower, right-hand
corner of your browser. This, too, lets you know the transaction
is secured.

5. Check Them Out

Finally, if you're at all suspicious of the company, check them
out with the Better Business Bureau or another consumer
protection agency before buying. The extra time you spend with
your investigation can pay off big in a savings of time and
trouble later.

Always keep your eyes open when shopping online. By educating
yourself in the area of consumer protection, you can greatly
improve your ability to shop confidentially online. With a
little precaution, your holiday shopping will be pleasant and

About the Author

Butch Pujol is an online Consumer Advocate who helps you make
the most of the Internet. Whether you're a business owner or a
consumer, find out more about shopping safely online - and how
to get your money back if you have already been scammed. Click
here for more info.

Written by: Butch Pujol

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