“Cybershopping” safety tips for Delawareans

On this “Cyber Monday,” Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden is cautioning shoppers to be careful when buying things online this holiday season.

“Making holiday purchases online can be a convenient alternative to the long lines and traffic jams at shopping malls and retailers,” Attorney General Biden stated, who offered some safety tips as a precaution. 

•       Purchase only from reputable retailers that you are familiar with. Make sure you have the retailer’s physical address and phone number in case you have problems with the purchase.

•       Never send personal or financial information through e-mail. Legitimate companies will not ask you to send personal identifying information via e-mail, because it is not a secure way to transfer such information.

•       Pay with a credit card. Using a credit card provide you with consumer protections not afforded by other payment options such as debit cards.

•       Read the fine print. When shopping online, it is important to read the product description and fine print very closely to ensure that you understand exactly what you are purchasing.  Also, find out  the Web site’s shipping and return policies.

•       Comparison shop and figure your total cost, including shipping charges. Use Web sites that provide you with a list of online retailers and the prices they’re charging for the item you’re looking for.

•       Keep a record of all transactions. Print records of all your online orders, including the confirmation page, which will include information about your order, payment, and shipping, and any e-mails to and from retailers.

•       Place your order only when you know the site is secure. If a site is secure, the Web address will begin with “https” rather than “http,” and a locked padlock icon will be visible at the bottom right of your screen. Be aware, however, that some con artists have learned to forge these security indicators.

According to industry analysts, last year, Cyber Monday sales surpassed $1 billion nationwide for the first time. 

If you believe you are a victim of fraud, Biden encourages you to contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit at 800-220-5424 or e-mail Consumer.Protection@state.de.us.

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