Protect Your Online Wallet this Cyber Monday: Tips from Consumer Law Experts
Consumers will soon flock to online stores in search of the perfect holiday gifts at affordable prices. To help shoppers protect themselves from cyber theft, consumer protection law specialists from the American Bar Association created Safeshopping.org.
The website explores topics such as avoiding viruses when installing software, protecting yourself when making payments and preventing identity theft.
Safety Tips for Buying Online
Passwords. Your passwords should be unique for each site you frequent. Create passwords that consist of a mix of at least five letters, numbers and punctuation marks, and avoid obvious combinations such as your name and birthday. Avoid storing your passwords near your computer. Avoid sites that request information such as your bank account or Social Security number.
Online Shopping. Verify that the shopping site is safe. Look for at least one of the following:
- An icon of an unbroken key or closed lock in your browser window. Either one indicates that security is operative. A broken key or open lock indicates that the site is not secure.
- A web address beginning with “https” on the page that asks for your credit card information, instead of “http.”
- The words “Secure Sockets Layer” or a pop-up box indicating that you are entering a secure area.
Telephone Shopping. Some people are more comfortable providing their credit card information over the telephone rather than through an online shopping site. If you give your credit card information to a store representative over the phone, write down the name and work ID of the person you spoke with, the phone number you called, the time of the conversation and the name of the company.
Payments. Did you know that paying by credit card is safer than paying by check, cash, debit card, money order, cashier’s check, certified check, teller’s check or cash on delivery? The reason stems from consumer protection law: Under federal law, if you have an unauthorized charge on your credit card, your liability is limited to $50. Moreover, some website operators and credit card issuers—including all VISA and MasterCard issuers—promise that under certain circumstances they will pay this amount for you.
For more tips about safe shopping online, go to www.safeshopping.org.
The website was created by the American Bar Association Business Law Section.
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