Many people purchase goods and services over the Internet. While many Internet retailers and auctions are reputable, there are scams to avoid.
Scammers can easily "set up shop" on the Internet with very little effort. These sites can look convincing, but may be dangerous. Purchasing from disreputable sources can cause credit card theft, deliver sub-par goods, or simply defraud you by not shipping purchases.
You can avoid trouble by using these tips:
Know who you're dealing with – avoid purchasing from links in spam or web searches. Look for positive online reviews.
Know what it will cost – and never send cash or allow "overpayment".
Pay by credit card – for better protection.
Don't email your financial information – email is not a secure transmission method.
Keep a paper trail – keep receipts and monitor your accounts for correct withdrawals.
Businesses or individuals who sell online should only use reputable payment methods. Checks and money orders may be fraudulent and are not easily checked at payment. Merchandise should only be shipped if payment is verified.
Visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website Onguardonline to learn even more about online shopping and Internet Auctions.