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Hard Facts on Software – Even more safe shopping tips

Those of you who have not been following my column have missed out on many tips and tricks that ensure a safe online shopping experience. But don’t despair, I am going to deal with more issues in the weeks to come. Privacyrights.org from the UK has done an excellent piece dealing with all these issues, and I am using their work as a framework for my discussion. Today we deal with phishing, always printing a copy of your order, and it makes sense to shop in developed countries or locally. Here is www.privacyrights.org take on more of the issues:
“Don’t Fall for ‘Phishing’ Messages”
Identity thieves send massive numbers of emails to Internet users that ask them to update the account information for their banks, credit cards, online payment service, or popular shopping sites. The email may state that your account information has expired, been compromised or lost and that you need to immediately resend it to the company.
Some emails sent as part of such “phishing” expeditions often contain links to official-looking Web pages. Other times the emails ask the consumer to download and submit an electronic form. The National Research Center of Consumer Reports magazine in the UK, found that 8% of respondents provided personal information after receiving phony e-mail messages.
Remember, legitimate businesses don’t ask for sensitive information via email. Don’t respond to any request for financial information that comes to you in an email. Again, don’t click on any link embedded within a suspicious email, and always call the retailer or financial institution to verify your account status before divulging any information. For more information on phishing, visit www.antiphishing.org, and www.onguardonline.gov.
“Always Print or Save Copies of Your Orders”
After placing an order online, you should receive a confirmation page that reviews your entire order. It should include the costs of the order, your customer information, product information, and the confirmation number.
We recommend you print out or save a copy of the Web page(s) describing the item(s) you ordered as well as the page showing company name, postal address, phone number, and legal terms, including return policy. Keep it for your own records for at least the period covered by the return/warranty policy.
Often you will also receive a confirmation message that is e-mailed to you by the merchant. Be sure to save and/or print this message as well as any other e-mail correspondence with the company.”
Having this information ready should any disputes arise will save you a lot of time and frustration. It will also be valuable evidence should you want to complain about an online companies service later on. A good way to keep this information is to “print” it in the form of a PDF document. In this way there are fewer arguments against you being able to have amended the documents.
“Shop with companies located in developed markets.”
When you shop within the U.S., you are protected by state and federal consumer laws. You might not get the same protection if you place an order with a company located in another country. The EU is also very protective of their online buyers, so it should be safe for you to buy from the US or Europe. I personally have bought many books from Amazon and it always was a pleasurable experience. If you buy local you have a better feeling about whether the company you buy from is legitimate or not, and you can buy from those that you already know.
Online shopping in RSA is still in its infancy, but there are many good online stores available already and most are working hard to deliver exceptional service. If you are following our tips and tricks you should have a great time shopping online also.
Until next time then – Keep it (A)fresh.

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