The Willis Report: Online shopping privacy pitfalls - KMSP-TV

The Willis Report: Online shopping privacy pitfalls

Posted: Updated:

By Gerri Willis
FOX Business Network


I couldn't blame you if you decided to do all of your holiday shopping online this year. After all, fighting the crowds seems a lot worse fate than wrestling the mouse. But the reality is this: There are pitfalls to online shopping as well and the most pernicious are not obvious.  This is the time of year that  thieves are out in force, hoping that you make a mistake so they can sell you counterfeit goods, steal your credit card number or even your identity.
        
Here's what you need to know to avoid the downsides of online shopping:

1.  Don't rely on your own powers of observation to determine whether a website is shady or not. There was a time when you could spot fakers because the sites were loaded with bad spelling and grammar. Not anymore.  Consumer Reports' Tod Marks says it is almost impossible to determine whether a site is legit or not by just looking at it. Instead, make sure that the url contains "https:" that "s" stands for secure. Check our retailer ratings at Better Business Bureau, where you can also find consumer complaints and reviews. It doesn't hurt to stick with retailers you already know, and avoid obscure vendors. And, by the way, pay by credit card rather than debit card. That way, if there is a problem with merchandise, you can get your money back.

2.  Watch out for the shyster moves. The fine print is what can get you online. Watch out for sites that say you can't return defective items. That means the sites are revoking an implied warranty that is acknowledged in many states. If you are buying a high end item make sure that the site is an authorized dealer for the goods by reading the terms and conditions on line.

3.  Check out the online privacy policy. Many retailers give you the option to opt into special offers or promotions. My suggestion  is to limit the information you provide to what is needed to actually make the purchase. I prefer dealing with retailers who allow me to decide whether they can share my information with others.

Ultimately, it looks like the majority of us will spend some time online shopping for holiday gifts. My suggestion: Don't allow the pressure of getting that last minute gift compromise your security.

Interact with Gerri on Twitter @GerriWillisFBN and Facebook for more information, or to voice your concerns and questions.

  • BusinessMore>>

  • EU to slap new sanctions on Russia over Ukraine

    EU to slap new sanctions on Russia over Ukraine

    Saturday, August 30 2014 12:23 PM EDT2014-08-30 16:23:06 GMT
    Ukrainian forces say one of their fighter jets has been shot down by a Russian missile in combat against Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.
    The European Union on Saturday warned that the apparent incursion of Russian troops on Ukrainian soil pushes the conflict closer to a point of no return, with new economic sanctions being drawn up to make Moscow reconsider...
  • South American food chains use Florida as US gate

    South American food chains use Florida as US gate

    Saturday, August 30 2014 11:10 AM EDT2014-08-30 15:10:23 GMT
    When El Corral Burgers opened its first U.S. restaurant near Miami last year, Colombian-Americans came in droves to get a taste of home.
    When El Corral Burgers opened its first U.S. restaurant near Miami last year, Colombian-Americans came in droves to get a taste of home.
  • Obama's visit comes amid tight governor's race

    Obama's visit comes amid tight governor's race

    Saturday, August 30 2014 10:44 AM EDT2014-08-30 14:44:05 GMT
    The last time President Barack Obama celebrated workers' rights at a Wisconsin Labor Day event, there was barely a hint of the turmoil that would embroil the state later when public employees staged massive...
    The last time President Barack Obama came to Wisconsin to celebrate workers' rights on Labor Day, there was barely a hint of the turmoil that was to come.
Powered by WorldNow

KMSP-TV
11358 Viking Drive
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

Phone: (952) 944-9999
Fax: (952) 942-0455

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices