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Shopping online offers a great deal of convenience, but with that convenience comes risk. Selling online also poses a risk, as thieves are likely to act as buyers.

Here are some valuable tips to make your online shopping safer.

Online shopping is the action of purchasing goods from the internet. Online shopping can be time and cost effective for consumers, but it can also make consumers targets for theft or fraud. To avoid falling victim, here are some simple tips to keep in mind while shopping online:

  • Find a phone number on the website. If there isn't one or it's difficult to find, it is likely the company isn't committed to customer service. If you have any concerns about ordering from the website, call the number and ask questions.
  • Check for the security symbol on the page that asks you to enter personal information. The symbol is typically a key or a lock. If the site is not secure, it's not a good idea to enter your credit card or account information.
  • Don't give out unnecessary personal information. A retailer shouldn't need to know your social security number or driver's license number for a simple purchase.
  • Online passwords should be letter and number combinations that would be difficult to decipher. Also, they should be changed periodically.

Overpayment scams are common in online transactions

A buyer will send the seller a check for more than the selling price and ask the seller to wire the excess funds elsewhere. As requested, the seller will promptly wire the additional funds and a few days later, the buyer's check is returned to the seller. The selling party then incurs the loss of the wire transfer. Avoid wiring money to strangers; once funds have been wired, they are likely gone and the victim, the seller, incurs the loss.

As an additional resource, the Federal Trade Commission has published an article for shopping online.