Tips from the Better Business Bureau for online shopping - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Tips from the Better Business Bureau for online shopping

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Early numbers suggest that on line shopping is up by 20 percent compared with last year, and one-third of those transactions are being done on a tablet or smart phone.

But before shoppers type in their personal information, there are some precautions they should take.

Melissa Ames with the Better Business Bureau says there are basic safeguards that can help protect your financial information from thieves.

Ames says make sure your antivirus software is up to date that your spyware is up to date, and your computer's firewall is on before you begin to shop.

In addition, the BBB warns that if you are not using a secure wi-fi network on a tablet or laptop it's easier for someone to upload a virus to your computer so thieves can know you every keystroke and steal your credit card or financial information.

Ames says that means people should not shop when using unsecured wi-fi networks at restaurants and other public places. She says the BBB recommends if you are using a tablet or laptop to shop, use a secure network that you actually have to enter a password to gain access to.

The BBB says before you type in your information also look at the address bar at the top. It should say https. The "s" means it's a secure network. They also suggest you check in the bottom right hand corner for a lock symbol that shows the transaction is secure.

The BBB also recommends looking at the privacy policy since you are giving a company your personal information. The agency also suggests you read the return policy.

To help keep your holidays merry, using a credit card over a debit card has advantages in case products you order are never received; you can have your card carrier dispute the charge.

The BBB also suggests shoppers print a copy of the order, or take a snap shot of the screen, so if they need a tracking number or information they will have it.

Computer experts say if you are going to place an order by using a smart phone, you should disable wi-fi to add a layer of protection so you are using your phone provider's lines which are more secure.

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