What to Bring When Buying Online

Holiday shopping for deals; not scams

By Consumer Bob
|  Thursday, Nov 24, 2011  |  Updated 7:48 AM PDT
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More people every year are taking the online route but there can be problems for Internet shoppers. Consumer Bob reminds you what you need to bring along when you shop online.

More people every year are taking the online route but there can be problems for Internet shoppers. Consumer Bob reminds you what you need to bring along when you shop online.

When it comes to Christmas shopping, Alyona Colson says she prefers doing it at home in her pajamas.

"I'm shopping all the time," said Colson. 

She's not alone.

More consumers are doing their holiday shopping over the Internet than ever before. But while many shoppers prefer going online, it requires some common sense to avoid getting ripped off.

"If the price is too good to be true, something is wrong," said Stephen Cobb with the online security company eset. “You want to get out of there."

Cobb says scam artists use this time of year to trick shoppers out of personal information.

"You should not provide any more information than is really needed to complete a transaction," said Cobb.

Meghan Bohn with Privacy Rights Clearinghouse agrees, "You definitely want to steer away from providing anything beyond the basic payment and shipping information."

Bohn says look out for sites that want to know your annual income, age, sex and other information.
It could be used for hacking into your personal accounts or simply used or sold for marketing reasons.

"They may use it to create a profile on their buyers or sell it to 3rd parties," said Bohn.

Both experts say shoppers should use credit cards in their transactions and not debit cards. 

You can dispute either one if there is a problem but with credit cards you can fight the charge before you have to pay your bill, a debit card comes directly out of your bank account.

More advice: Change your password often.

"You definitely do not want to use the same password for shopping that you use for your bank," said Bohn with Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.

And while most online customers will probably be using their computer, Stephen Cobb says the same rules apply over your tablet or smart phone.

"Make sure that cell phone is protected," said Cobb. "Make sure it has a password on it in case somebody steals it or you lose it."

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