How Do I Stay Safe While Online Shopping?

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With the holiday season approaching, you may avoid brick-and-mortar stores in favor of online shops this season. However, there’s nothing to put a damper on your holiday spirit quite like finding out the store you purchased from was a scam and now you have unauthorized charges on your credit card. Though it can feel like a heavy weight on your shoulders, you have options. If you’ve been scammed, you’ll want to keep reading to learn some of the best tips to help you stay safe while shopping online and how a Los Angeles, California unauthorized credit card transactions lawyer can help remedy the situation.

Pay Attention to Websites When Online Shopping

When shopping online, ensuring the website you want to purchase from is legitimate is crucial. Generally, any store you can shop at in person is safe. However, if you’ve never heard of the brand before, it’s necessary to research the company before inputting your information.

This includes ensuring the website is secure. To check, you’ll need to look at the website’s URL. A secure website will have the prefix “HTTPS” instead of “HTTP.” If there is no “s” at the end of the prefix, it indicates the website is not secure. This means it is much easier to hack and receive the information transmitted by these websites. Some internet browsers will also have a lock icon in the address bar to illustrate the website’s safety.

Never Use Your Debit Card

Though using your debit card may be second nature, you should avoid it when shopping online. This is because illegitimate stores, scammers, and hackers can steal your card information to use, which means the money is gone from your bank account as soon as the unauthorized person makes a purchase. While there is some protection against fraudulent transactions on debit cards, you can still be liable for fees or the money lost, especially if you do not notify your financial institution in a timely manner.

Instead, using a credit card is recommended, as some credit card companies have policies to ensure you have no responsibility for unauthorized purchases. Also, when an unauthorized purchase is made using a credit card, the money isn’t removed from your account, like with a debit card. Instead, the line of credit will be lower until the fraudulent purchase is removed.

Review Statements Before Paying

Before making a credit card payment, you should review your statement to ensure no unusual activity on your card. This ensures you don’t mistakenly make a payment for a purchase you did not authorize. If you notice a suspicious charge, you need to contact your credit card company to dispute it. Generally, you have sixty days to file a claim for an unauthorized purchase on your credit card.

Another helpful tip is to set up purchase alerts. These are automated messages that are sent via text or email from your credit card company when a purchase is made of a certain amount or higher. For example, you can set your account to notify you of purchases over $100. This is helpful as it informs you immediately of any expensive purchases.

If someone has been using your credit card without authorization, you should file a claim. This is important, as credit card companies may not be willing to resolve disputes. If this is the case, Los Angeles Legal Solutions is ready to help fight for you.

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