With just over a week before Christmas, many Nebraskans will be doing plenty of shopping online this weekend in hopes of finding the perfect gift for a loved one.
Consumer advocate Carri Grube Lybarker says before you make a purchase over the Internet, make sure you get information up-front about the company making the sale.
“Confirm the online seller’s physical address and phone number,” Lybarker says. “A lot of times we see people have complaints that all they have is an 800-number. It’s very difficult to track down who that online seller was. They also need to know what it costs, make sure they’re doing price comparisons, that they know what the shipping and handling fees are going to be and what the return policies are.”
Lybarker says you may also need to know if there is a time period in which to request a refund. Also, make sure to have the proper protection for your computer, especially if you’re shopping online a lot.
“Always have updated antivirus software and a firewall,” she says. “Don’t email your financial information to anybody and always use a credit card when shopping online because you have more protections under federal law when using this payment method.”
Lybarker cautions parents to make certain their kids know how to be smart shoppers online.
“The parents should have parental controls and put them on the computer, watching out for free stuff,” she says. “We often see these pop-ups that offer free games or ring tones or other downloads. These can contain malware and put viruses on the computer.”
Lybarker says you should shop online with businesses that are reputable and familiar, as well as those with whom you have made successful transactions in the past.