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More and more consumers are deciding to avoid crowds, compare prices with ease and find sales by shopping online. While most Internet users shop online, consumers who don't log on to make purchases often cite security as the reason.2 It's a valid concern. In 2006 the Federal Trade Commission received reports of 204,881 cases of Internet fraud.3
Many of those victims received products that didn't live up to the promises they read online. Others handed over their hard-earned money and never got anything at all. The idiom "let the buyer beware" has never held truer than in the world of e-commerce.
Thankfully, you can outsmart the fraudsters and scammers by learning to protect yourself when shopping online. This portion of the CyberStreetSmart Web site will teach you:
- How and why to comparison shop online
- How to read privacy policies to take control of your personal information
- How to avoid online auction fraud, one of the most common consumer complaints
- These figures adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes. Total retail sales for the first quarter of 2007 were estimated at $999.5 billion. The Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce, QuarterlyRetail E-Commerce Sales 1st Quarter2007, May 2007.
- Reineke Reitsma, Europe's 2006 Online Shopping Landscape, Forrester Research, September 2006.
- Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Fraud and Identity Theft Complaint Data January-December 2006, page 5.