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Holiday Shopping Online Tips

Date post:30-Jul-2015
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1. Consumer Affairs Branch Fairfax County Department of Cable and Consumer Services fairfaxcounty.gov/consumer 2. Great way to avoid the crowds. Shop 24/7. Shop in any type of weather. Compare prices with ease. Find deals. Read product reviews. Research company and seller feedback. 3. Protect your computer or mobile device with spam filters, anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a firewall. Secure your own wireless network with wireless encryption. Update your computer regularly. 4. Choose a PIN that is hard to guess. Avoid the last 4 digits of your social security number, your mothers maiden name, birth dates, names of pets, or anything easy to guess about you. Mix numbers, letters and symbols that are hard to guess for passwords. 4$smasp! 5. Make a list. Set a budget. Shop around. Look for price-matching offers. Understand refund and return policies and warranties. Read the fine print. 6. Know your rights before you make a purchase. Dont rely 100% on information from friends, family, merchants or blogs. Understand and exercise your rights. 7. The Virginia Consumer Protection Act promotes fair and ethical standards for transactions between consumers and businesses. Section 59.1-196 of the Virginia Code. 8. Repair Replace Refund Exchange Store Credit All sales final As is No refund 9. Always find out about the policy before you buy or online. Return, refund, and exchange policies vary among retailers. 10. Buy now, pay later. Federal laws offer protections against fraud, abuse and billing errors. Credit card holders can dispute a charge made to their credit card. 11. Buy now, pay now. Money is immediately taken from your account. Never pay interest. When there is a dispute, you have to wait for a refund. Best for smaller routine purchases. 12. Service that allows you to pay, send money, and accept payments without revealing your financial information to merchants and sellers. You provide bank account or credit card information to PayPal. Your information is securely stored until you want to make a payment. PayPal offers $0 Liability for Eligible Unauthorized Purchases. Refunds for incorrect orders or items that never arrive. 13. UPS may send official notification messages, but they rarely include attachments. Forward suspicious or unexpected email from UPS to: [email protected] 14. Popular for fraud and scams. Advertise non-existent popular products through spam emails. Find out as much as you can about the seller. Research the company and read buyers reviews. Make sure there is reliable contact information. Read all details of the sale and print a picture of the items. Save emails and correspondence of all contacts. 15. Only agree to secure payment arrangements. Never wire money. Report Problems with Online Auctions to: Federal Trade Commission ftc.gov/complaint 16. Help buyers and sellers with purchases that involve money and goods or services. Buyer sends payment to the escrow service. Seller sends the product or provides the services to the buyer. When the buyer acknowledges the product or service, the online escrow service releases the funds to the seller. 17. Be alert for payment requirements on an online auction site. Never wire money to pay for an item. Wiring money is just like sending cash. Pay with a credit card so you can dispute the charges if you dont get what you paid for or the merchandise never arrives. 18. Dont be distracted. Never click on a link in an unsolicited e-mail no matter how tempting it looks. Go directly to a retailers site using the email address you already have to find out about sales and specials. Clicking on a link many times takes you to a fraudulent site. 19. A deal is not a deal when: A Web site or individual offers a deal better than anyone else but wont accept credit cards. They demand a direct transfer of funds, wire transfers, or want to send a courier to your home. 20. Be alert for advertised sales that offer deep discounts on hot-ticket items or super low prices. Many times the goal is to get you on the Web site to entice you to buy full priced merchandise. 21. Know who has to pay for shipping if a return is necessary. Shop with merchants you know or have an established relationship with. Be alert for companies that might go under. 22. Take advantage of free shipping days. Many merchants will offer free shipping on December 16th with guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve. Go to freeshippingday.com for a list of participating merchants. 23. Sign up for e-mail newsletters and price alerts. Follow retailers on Twitter and join Facebook fan pages for early access to sales and additional discounts. Search the Internet for promotion codes for free shipping or discounts before you check out. 24. Dont be pressured to buy additional products or services. Read and print a copy of all policies for returns, refunds or delays. Make sure your computer is secure. 25. Dont click into unfamiliar sites. Dont let a search engine pick a site for you. Enter only addresses you know and trust. Before entering personal or financial information look for security labels: https:// in the URL VeriSign Cybertrust Lock Report suspicious web sites 26. Print out receipts for all purchases. Keep them safe so you can check your credit- card statements against your receipts. Review your credit-card statements regularly. Look for unauthorized purchases or charges. Consider using one credit card for online purchases. 27. Makes it easier for you to spot unauthorized purchases quickly. Limits the information that is out there. Makes it easier for you to check regularly. Consider online banking so you can check 24/7/365. 28. Never shop online using a public Wi-Fi connection. Hackers can tap into Wi-Fi connections at hotspots, such as coffee shops, airports and hotels. Never use a public computer to shop or check accounts online. Always log directly onto the site you want to conduct business with and verify all information. 29. Type in the Website address. Never follow a link imbedded in an email. Shopping passwords should be different from other passwords you use. Never share your password with anyone. 30. Legitimate business or retailers will never ask for your password in an email or over the phone. When doing business with someone for the first time, make sure there is a customer assistance center and number you can call with questions or to get information. Check the number to make sure it is a working number and assistance is actually available. 31. Price shouldn't be your only criterion. Pay attention to return policies, fees, shipping costs, and contract termination fees. Avoid products that are nonreturnable. Give gift receipts. Set up an email account just for online shopping. 32. Keeps your full time email inbox spam-free. When you finish shopping you can enjoy or ignore all the marketing attempts to get you to purchase again. Avoid last-minute shopping. The longer you wait, the more limited your selection and the more you will spend. 33. 12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 433 Fairfax, Virginia 22035 703-222-8435 TTY 711 www.fairfaxcounty.gov/consumer [email protected]

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