General web safety
General Web Safety for Consumers.
We've all heard how great shopping on the Internet can be, that you can get things far cheaper, as the shops don't have to pay expensive overheads. How convenient it is - you can shop when you want to. How it's easy to compare prices, and how there are no long lines and plenty of parking online!
But before you start shopping there are a number of questions you have to ask yourself.
- Do you trust the vendor?
- Do they have a 'secure' server?
- What are their delivery times?
- Can you contact them if the order goes wrong?
- Are there any hidden charges?
Most shopping sites use some sort of shopping cart - this is your virtual trolley into which you can place items, then take them to the checkout when you want to pay. The checkout must be in a secure server in order for your transaction to be secure.
How Do I Know I'm in a Secure Server?
When you go into a secure server the key or lock in the bottom of your browser will appear locked or highlighted. The address of the web site will also change from http://www... to https://www... signifying that the site is secure.
If none of this happens, then this is not a secure server - don't enter your credit card details. Don't be afraid to email the vendor and ask them a few questions to put your mind at rest!
What Else Should I Do?
Here are a few hints about internet safety shopping tips that we've learned along the way:
- Always print out your order confirmation.
- Pay by Credit Card. If something goes wrong you can have a credit card transaction reversed in legitimate circumstances.
- Order more than just one item at a time to save on delivery costs or see if you are close to their free shipping minimum.
- Try and get your goods delivered at a time when you will be there, otherwise your package might get left with the neighbors from hell!
- Don't get carried away and spend too much!
You can get some good advice from your State's Office of Fair Trading.
If you would like to report a business in which you were unfairly treated or did not receive what you purchased please feel free to contact us or use our Internet Fraud Form and we will promptly look into the matter.
You may also call our Internet Fraud Hotline at 800.678.1031 ext 10
- Always ensure that you know what you are buying and that you do want the goods. Always print receipts and verifications for your records.
- Find out what the shipping costs are before you commit to purchase.
- Calculate the full cost including shipping of the goods you are buying.
- Find out how long it will take for the goods to be delivered.
- Ensure that the delivery address you provide is valid and that somebody will be available to receive the goods.
- Find out the shipping method that is proposed and understand whose responsibility it is to insure the goods in transit. Most reputable companies will email you the tracking number for your purchase as well.
- Save all correspondence with the merchant and make a note of phone calls including who you spoke to and when.
- Check your credit card transactions to ensure that you have been charged for the goods at the correct price. Online Banking makes this very easy to do.
- Save and print the emailed or published invoice. It is important to have this to verify your transaction.
- Is the merchant or website in the InternetSafeList.com directory? If so please leave your feedback comments for other shoppers to read. If not please send them a note and invite them to apply.
Even with the best of intentions, things can still go wrong. You should first approach your merchant for redress of any issues.
If you cannot contact your merchant or if you think the merchant's response has been unreasonable, you can contact us. Please include as much information as you can to help us to understand your issue.
Top 10 Internet Scams (2008)
back to top
Top 10 Internet Scams (2007)
back to top
Top 10 Internet Scams (2006)
back to top
Type of Complaint
Percentage of Total Complaints
|Credit/Debit Card Fraud||6.8%|
|Financial Institutions Fraud||0.5%|