Guest Author - Vannie Ryanes
Using your credit to buy online is safe, but you must take care and the proper precautions. Using your credit card can be safer than using cash, especially when buying large-ticket items. Paying by credit card gives you an accurate record of your purchase. If you lose your receipt you still have proof of purchase. But what will happen to your personal information? Will you find yourself inundated with credit card applications and other direct marketing materials? If you are receiving so-called "junk mail" by snail mail, telephone or your e-mail, you can do something to reduce the flow. A word of caution, if you enjoy receiving a ton of catalogs around Christmas, think before taking this action. I have not received catalogs in four years. While everyone else is pulling colorful catalogs from their mailboxes during the holidays, I get no more than two or three.
Have Your Name Removed From Most Marketing Lists
Visit DMA Consumer Assistance: How And Where To Find Help. This is an excellent consumer site. You are given information, a telephone number and an address to have yourself removed from many direct marketing lists. https://www.the-dma.org/cgi/offtelephonedave
Your Credit Reporting Agencies
It is a good idea to check your credit reports from time-to-time. You can check to see if there are additional accounts opened, odd charges, etc. There are only three CC reporting agencies (USA):
For more on cyber safety visit http://www.staysafeonline.info. This site has great information for family safety and informative blog posts.
Using your credit card to buy online is safe, but you should read, read and read the fine print *before* you make that final click to purchase. If you do not read the the company policy carefully, you may actually be giving permission to receive these marketing materials when you hit send.
Online Shopping is Generally Safe
1. Buy from stores and vendors you know. Many established mega stores now sell their products online and often offer online specials.
2. Use credit cards only, never debit cards when shopping online. Most credit card companies protect misuse of your card by outside parties. Using your debit card pulls money directly from your bank account.
3. There are several things to look for on the site: A secure site will have a small key or padlock icon in the lower portion of your screen. Also, you may see WebAssured or ShopAssured at bottom of the screen. However, scammer's have become very sophisticated, check and double check *before* you hit send.
4. A reminder that secured servers and knowing your vendors is not foolproof but they offer a more than fair amount of security and offer some recourse if you have a problem.
5. When buying from a vendor that is new to you it is good to remember, if it seems to good to be true, it probably is. If you buy a product and get a good, but soon after harassed out of your mind to buy more, more, more, the deal may not be worth the low cost. Look for a opt-out link and use it.
Check for Previous Complaints If You Don't Know the Company
You can check WebAssured for previous company complaints. This site has a watch-list, consumers FAQ's and more. You can also file a complaint there. http://www.webassured.com
Don't forget to check out old reliables like the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission.