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June 02, 2011

  • Shopping Safely Online, Pt.4
       Never a substitute for cardholder precautions.

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    Do not conduct personal business on public computers. If you are traveling or at school and find it absolutely necessary to sign into your bank or credit card account on a public computer or another individual's computer, do not save any information such as username or passwords. When using a computer that is not personally owned by you, you should always save your documents to an external storage device or thumb drive. Upon completing your business with the bank or credit card company on a public or other individual's computer, take extra precautions to ensure that you have completely log out and closed the browser.

    Buying and selling online can be an enjoyable and convenient experience; however, unscrupulous merchants are always looking for new ways to scam credit cardholders. A popular way is to bury return policies and refunds within the small print of shipping terms. Before you check enter your debit or credit card information and select the "accept" button, save yourself a big headache by thoroughly reading all the terms and conditions including the shipping terms.

    There are a number of organizations that offer services to guard against credit card and identity fraud. For a nominal monthly fee these companies monitor such things as your credit history, public records, credit card accounts and Social Security and sends an alert if any unusual activity occurs or changes are made to the accounts. Some of these companies even include anti-virus and malware software. Many of the activities that these companies conduct can be easily carried out by the consumer, but some individuals may have less available time than others. If you find yourself neglecting your monitoring tasks, it might benefit you to buy the service. However, there is never any substitute for the consumer who takes an appropriate amount of time and energy in monitoring important activities for anti-theft purposes and to protect their identity while buying and selling online.

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