Secure Online Shopping Tips: Remember To Pass It On

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Earlier this week, I was reminded of an important lesson when I happened to overhear my 23 year old daughter during a conversation with her friend.  She was giving her friend some tips for staying safe during her online shopping.

As someone in the consumer protection field for more than 25 years, I subjected my children to an incessant stream of tips and information, as I would practice many of my upcoming presentations on the three of them.  They would sit on our sofa as I would do a run through of an upcoming speech and they would applaud wildly when I finished.  I always thought they were more thrilled with the fact that it was over which meant that dinner was forthcoming.  But now as they are older I realize that the information, though slow to sink in, did manage to stick.

This is a good reminder for all parents.  We often go out on our fact-finding missions and we develop this knowledge base for our own purposes, but how often do we pass it on?  Make sure to pass the information on to your most precious audience.  Eventually, they will pass this information on to their friends, making the world a more secure place.  It warmed my heart to hear her giving her friend one of my tried and true tips for secure online shopping:

Always try to use a credit card rather than a debit when shopping online.  Make sure to read all the fine print regarding the protection on your card.  Some card issuers have a specific window of opportunity for disputing a charge, be it 30-60-or 90 days.  It varies, so make sure you know what the limitations are for any particular credit card.  Some card issuers use the “date of discovery” (meaning when you first discovered the issue, not when the charge occurred) but not all of them do.

I have a card that I intentionally keep the credit limit rather low on, and I only use it for online transactions.  It makes it easy for me to read through the statements quickly and know if they are legitimately mine or not.  Additionally, if the card were ever compromised, a thief could not do a tremendous amount of damage.  While I probably would not necessarily be held liable for the charges in the end, I don’t want a thief to benefit from a large credit limit and thus have a huge financial gain.

And there you have it.  Now that you have it, remember to PASS IT ON, and see how far it gets.  I hope that you too will enjoy a moment when you hear one of your children passing on your legacy of knowledge.

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Eva Velasquez

Eva Velasquez is the President/CEO at the Identity Theft Resource Center, a non-profit organization which serves victims of identity theft. Velasquez previously served as the Vice President of Operations for the San Diego Better Business Bureau and spent 21 years at the San Diego District Attorney’s Office. Eva has a passion for consumer protection and privacy issues and is constantly striving to educate the public about these important topics. She is recognized as a nationwide expert on identity theft and has recently been featured on the Ricki Lake show and MORE magazine, as well as numerous other outlets.