Attorney General advises on online shopping safety

As more and more consumers choose to shop online, Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa warns consumers of the risks involved with online buying.

"Online shopping has become an especially attractive alternative to in-store or catalog shopping," Del Papa said. "But virtual shopping, like traditional shopping, must be approached with sufficient caution."

The Nevada attorney general has joined federal, state and private organizations throughout the country in providing home shopping tips to consumers during National Consumer protection Week, Feb. 14-20. The theme this year is "Armchair Armor: Shopping Safely From Home."

The Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection offers the following tips to help consumers shop on-line with more security:

-- Deal only with established, reputable retailers. An impressive-looking Internet site does not guarantee legitimacy. Whether shopping in a store, by phone or in cyberspace, try to shop only with companies that you already know.

-- Learn the company's refund and exchange policies. Each business sets its own refund and exchange policies and can vary considerably. Prior to your purchase, find out about the policies. Save the sales receipt in case merchandise must be returned.

-- Protect your privacy. When shopping on the Internet, remember that online sellers often collect information to market back to you or to sell to other companies. Ideally, shop with a vendor that posts privacy policies online and offers options about the use of personal information. In most cases, your password, credit card number and shipping information are all that a vendor should require.

-- Pay with a credit card and order only from a secure server when shopping online.

Beware if an online seller asks for your banking account number or offers to debit money from your account. It is best to use a credit card when ordering because credit card purchases offer you protections that you will not have otherwise. It is also extremely important to verify that you are ordering from a secure server prior to putting in your personal and credit card information.

Persons with concerns regarding or complaints against any Internet company should call the Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection in Las Vegas at (702) 486-3194, in Reno at (775) 688-1818; or in Carson City at (775) 687-6300. Consumer protection information can be found on the Nevada Attorney General's Web site at:


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