Tips to buying items online

August 18, 2009 8:50:06 AM PDT
Buying online can be the key to a great deal, but it can also leave you open to getting scammed. Here is some advice to keep your online experience from becoming a nightmare.

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Going online and finding something used can be a good way to save money. But buyer beware; cyber crime is big business. Following some simple rules can keep you safe. The most important rule is never send cash.

"If somebody asks you to pay in cash or use something like Western Union, it's just a red flag that they're trying to scam you," said Good Housekeeping Research Institute's Todd Kent.

One way to avoid the seller seeing your credit card number is using PayPal. The service offers some protection if the product arrives broken or not at all.

"Make sure to check for the little security logo or a lock in the browser bar," said Kent.

Rule number two --if buying local, meet in person. Buying from a local classified or on line community can give you a chance to see the item before buying it. As an added protection, arrange to meet the seller in a public place. Bring a friend along with you. And make sure you read the terms and conditions of the site you're using to avoid any surprises later.

Good Housekeeping ranks highly both eBay and Amazon for their massive inventories and navigation.

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