1. If you are shopping online, never give out your Social Security number. There is not any website that really needs this number for you to buy something. If you are being asked for your Social Security number during checkout, perhaps you are on a scam website. Leave this site and locate one that includes a better reputation.
2. To protect yourself use a credit card when you shop online. The federal government has passed laws to protect consumers in the event of fraud. The amount the buyer is responsible for is actually a mere $50.00 as compared to debit cards where the entire balance may be withdrawn by internet hackers.
3. Always save copies of your orders and receipts from online purchases. Many stores will redirect one to a page after you've submitted a purchase detailing exactly what was bought, customer information, the prices, etc. You should either print a copy of this or save a duplicate to your computer in case any issues arise before the end of the return period. Make sure to save any emails regarding your items' status or correspondence with the company regarding your orders, too.
4. Online shopping is a great way to find items that are out of stock at your local store. For example, if you are unable to find a certain size of jeans at the store in your area, you can look on the store's website and learn if they are available to be shipped to you.
5. Get familiar with the shipping facts of an online retailer. Their shipping policy should be outlined in a separate section to illustrate the average time you should get your items, geographic restrictions, shipping choices, possible shipping insurance, and what their handling and shipping fees are. Use all this information to choose if these costs and options fit well for you, your budget, along with your area before you place an order.