How to Protect Online Transactions Through the Law
The Internet has grown tremendously in recent years and is now a popular way for consumers to process a host of transactions online, from banking tasks to making travel reservations. While technology advances help make these transactions secure, there are still unethical individuals out there who use the Internet to part users from their money.
If you’re going to shop or bank online, it’s essential to know how to protect your online transactions through the law.
Things You’ll Need
- Computer with Internet access
- Receipt or record of online transaction, if possible
Use Precautions to Secure Your Online Transactions
Be wary of any emails that ask you to update your account information. They could be an attempt at “phishing” (obtaining your password or other information illegally), which could result in identity theft, unauthorized purchases or compromise of your bank account.
Look for signs that an online shopping site is identity verified and SSL (Secure Socket Layer) secured to protect your credit card and personal information. Most browsers will mark a secure site by displaying a padlock icon somewhere on the frame of the browser window.
Use the Law to Resolve Disputes Over Online Transactions
Place a “fraud alert” on your credit report if you suspect an online transaction may have led to fraud or identity theft. Do this by contacting one of the three leading credit-reporting agencies-Equifax, Experian or TransUnion-which is then required to notify the other two.
Notify your credit-card provider to report any unauthorized use of your card from an online transaction. Most major credit-card companies will cover transactions over $50 while the report is being investigated.
File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. This agency can help you protect yourself from fraudulent online transactions as provided by federal law. Just navigate to the Consumer Protection section of the site (see Resources below) to access consumer information (including contact information for the leading credit-reporting bureaus) and to file a complaint with the Bureau of Consumer Protection.
Tips & Warnings
- Avoid making online transactions with unknown businesses, or those that do not clearly state their policies regarding your privacy.
- Don’t waste any time in taking action if an online transaction has gone wrong. The longer you wait, the more difficult it can be to resolve the situation, especially if you’ve been lured into an online scam or have become a victim of identity theft.