With the click of a mouse, you can order practically anything online. But no matter how you shop, do business with reputable companies and take steps to protect yourself from potential problems.
Know who you're dealing with . If you've never heard of the seller, check on its location and reputation with the Better Business Bureau or the state attorney general's office.
Protect your privacy . Provide personal information only if you know who's collecting it, why, and how it's going to be used.
Guard your passwords . Use different passwords when you're making a purchase than you use to log on to your computer or network.
Pay the safest way . A credit card offers the most consumer protections.
Order only on a secure server . Look for an unbroken key or padlock at the bottom of the browser window to ensure your transmission is protected.
Check shipping and handling fees . Don't forget to factor these into the cost of the order, and to choose the delivery option that best meets your needs.
Track your purchases . Keep printouts of the web pages with details about the transaction, including return policies if you're not satisfied.
(Information provided by the Federal Trade Commission)
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