Beulahland's Website Compass

6 WebsiteCompass Feature Story Protect Yourself from Online Shopping Scams Online shopping can be so fun that you may forget it can be dangerous, too. The following suggestions can help you stay safe. Recognize the Threat Because online shopping has become so habitual, many consumers feel entirely secure and therefore don’t follow the other recommendations here. But to be a smart shopper in the online age means knowing what could go wrong. So, the first step to avoiding online shopping scams is to be aware they exist. Study Sites Examine each site thoroughly before you hit the “buy” button. Ask these questions: Does the site address begin with “https,” which indicates it’s using a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate? Does the site offer any contact methods? Does the seller offer thorough information about itself and its policies? In all cases, the answer should be “yes.” Conduct Additional Research Perform online searches like “[company name] scam” and “[company name] fraud.” Confirm the company is listed by the Better Business Bureau ( Finally, examine the company’s social media feeds to ensure they’re professional, consistent, and up to date. Use a Safe Payment Method Credit cards are better for online purchases than debit cards because they allow you to dispute erroneous charges. Another option is a one-time-use number that your credit card issuer can provide for single purchases. PayPal ( is also a good choice because it provides options if your order never arrives. KnowWhat to Do If You’re Scammed If you find yourself the victim of an online shopping scam, contact your credit card company to dispute the charge. Next, file a report with the FTC ( to help them know about frauds going on. Finally, use your online platforms to alert as many people as you can. Prevent Porch Pirates from Stealing Your Stuff Porch pirates are people who steal packages that have been delivered to the exterior of homes but not yet retrieved. In addition to untold frustration, this type of crime costs Americans billions of dollars per year. Here are some tips for keeping the pirates at bay. • Track your packages so you know when to expect them. • When a package arrives, retrieve it immediately. If that’s not possible, ask a neighbor to pick it up for you. • If available, use an option to have packages left inside your garage. • If available, choose a “signature required for delivery” option. That way, packages won’t get left outside. • Invest in a security system that includes a doorbell video camera to deter would-be thieves. If all else fails, have your packages delivered to work, a post office box, or a package locker such as those provided by Amazon (, or consider taking advantage of in-store pickup options. QUICK TIP: For the best shopping experience on your phone, download the retailer’s app.