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Suggested Best Practices for Shopping on the Internet

In today's technology-driven workplace, shopping on the Internet is an efficient and often required method of procuring goods. Your agency can minimize risks associated with Internet purchases by adhering to some common-sense best shopping practices. The best shopping practices listed below were developed from information obtained at Better Business Bureau Internet sites. Please refer to those sites for more detailed information (http://www.bbb.org/ and http://www.bbbonline.org/).

  • Do not use your credit card unless you are in a secure environment, i.e., the location/address box on your browser starts with https://.
  • If an Internet site asks you to create an account with a password, protect that password.
  • Know who you are doing business with before placing your order:
  • Use Web sites that provide clear contact information (phone number, address in the real world, customer service contact) for the company, as well as warranty, return and refund policy.
  • If you are not familiar with an online merchant, verify its reliability with outside organizations, such as The Better Business Bureau.
  • Do not provide personal information, such as Social Security or bank account numbers.
  • A site should have a privacy policy explaining how the merchant will protect the information you submit when making a purchase. If you can not find that policy, request that information.
  • Understand prices, shipping and handling charges, the terms of any product or service guarantees and the expected delivery date.
  • Check your order for keystroke errors to avoid ordering the wrong item or quantity.
  • Always print and retain a copy of each purchase order with a confirmation number attached. It's also a good idea to print the "address" (Uniform Resource Locator) of the company site you are doing business with.