Money Matters: Shopping Online

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More Americans are doing their shopping online this year.

A National Retail Federation survey shows this past Christmas 47% of consumers did some shopping online, up from 44% in 2010. About half of them own smart phones and 70% who have tablets will use them to research items before buying.

Cameron Huddleston from Kiplinger.com has some online shopping traps that catch even smart shoppers.

1. Select your own seller.

When you use a search engine to find an online retailer that has your item, don't click on the links on the search page. They may be put their by rip-off artists. Instead, go directly to that retailer's website. You can also use a price comparison site such as Amazon or Price Grabber.

2. Shop at home.

Avoid using wi-fi connections at hot spots like coffee shops. Hackers might be nearby waiting to join you and capture your personal information.

3. Check your credit card bill.

Review your credit card bills. Print out receipts from purchases and keep them in a seperate folder for later comparison.

4. Don't fall for bogus bargains.

If a site offers a deal that's too good to be true, demands a direct transfer of funds, or won't accept credit cards, it's probably a scam. Don't ever click on an unsolicited email to go shopping, even if it looks legit.

5. Don't trust every deal you see on social networking sites.

Twitter and Facebook can be smart ways to shop for deals, but the the links may be shortened so you may land somewhere else like a scam site. It's better to use Twitter and Facebook as tips, and then do your own research.

6. Don't wire money.

Wiring money to a seller for an item is an invitation for fraud. You have no way of getting your money back if the item you purchased never arrives or is junk. Use PayPal or a credit card so you can dispute the charges if you don't get what you paid for.

Of course, the best way to avoid all these pitfalls is to shop locally. That way, you know who you're dealing with and can return the item easily.

Sometimes the best deals are right in your own backyard.

For more information, check out the link below to the source story.


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