The Do's and Don'ts of Online Shopping


Shopping online for clothes, books, birthday and Christmas presents,—you name it—is popular and convenient. Purchasing online for the first time can be a little intimidating. But even after you become accustomed to the format, it's important to scrutinize every purchase. Here are some tips before you click "buy".

DO check with your parents to make sure it's ok for you to shop online. Your parents may want to supervise your online transactions.

DON'T share your passwords with anyone. Many websites will ask you to establish a password to buy from them. Use different passwords for different websites and keep them complex. It can be hard to remember the passwords, so keep them written down and in a secret spot.

DO be prepared when purchasing. You will be asked for the name on the credit card, the credit card number and expiration date, your address and the mailing address for where the item should be shipped.

DO check Internet merchants' refund policies; some merchants set a deadline for returns or charge a fee to accept returned merchandise.

DON'T wait for paper statements. Check your credit card and bank statements for suspicious activity by calling your bank or visiting your bank's website.

DO keep in mind you often pay shipping fees to have your purchases delivered.

DON'T respond to unsolicited email or pop-up ads. Never click on links attached to an unsolicited email. Instead, locate the merchant's website, phone number and address through a search engine. Shop only at websites you know and trust. Look for "https" at the beginning of the web site address - "s" means secure.

DON'T provide merchants with personal information such as your Social Security number, birth date, or mother's maiden name.

DO make sure your computer has the latest anti-virus software installed.

DO print and save the confirmation page (your receipt) when completing an online purchase.

DON'T get drawn in by emails offering cheap deals on popular items and gifts. If the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

DO be responsible. Remember, once you make a transaction online you have legally committed to purchasing that item. The purchase will show up on your next credit card billing statement.