Buying online is fast, easy and convenient – but it may mean doing business with merchants you have never seen or heard much about. The following guidelines will help ensure that your online transactions are secure:
Know who you’re dealing with
Know what you’re paying for
Read and keep records
Protect your information
- Shop only at Internet merchants you know and trust. Do your homework on the company or individual to ensure they are legitimate. Reputable merchants will have easy-to-find information about themselves, their location and contact numbers.
- Don’t be pushed or rushed into buying an item, especially by “limited supply” or “limited time” warnings.
- Make sure the merchant has a secure transaction system before providing credit card or other sensitive information. Look for the secure transaction symbol, which will look like a padlock on the very bottom of your browser, before entering your credit card number.
- Some companies offer online “free trials” and when the consumer fails to cancel the service, the company will take that as permission to begin billing. This is called “negative option” billing. Even “cancelling” may be complicated by poor customer service, slow response times, and untimely refunds. For tips and information on how you can protect yourself against this and other online deceptive marketing practices, please go to the Visa Canada website
- In the online world you can’t touch a product or see the salesperson, so make sure there is enough detail on the website to allow you to make an informed decision. What are the terms of the contract? Is a warranty offered? What’s the merchant’s payment policy? How do they handle complaints and returns?
- Understand all the costs involved. Shipping and handling fees are usually extra. A reputable merchant will calculate and inform you of all applicable costs before you make a final decision to purchase an item. If you’re buying from outside Canada, remember to factor in customs duty and currency exchange.
- Be careful with online auctions. Before you bid for an item, be sure you understand how the auction works, what your obligations are and what the seller’s obligations are. Verify who is selling the item. Better sites will keep records of sellers and customer satisfaction with them, and should also have dispute resolution mechanisms.
- Read the terms of the contract before buying.
- Print and save the confirmation page when completing an online purchase, as well as contract terms. Make your own notes of all transactions and store them in a secure place.
- Check your credit card and bank statements as soon as they arrive to ensure all charges are correct. Look for extra or missing transactions and report any discrepancies immediately.
- Keep your personal information private. Do not disclose your address, telephone number, Social Insurance Number (SIN) or email address unless you know who is collecting the information, why they are collecting it and how they plan to use it.
- Protect your PINs and passwords by selecting ones that will be difficult for others to guess, shielding keypads when entering PINs on them and never sharing your PINS and passwords with other people.
- Clear the cache of your browser after visiting secure sites. This will ensure that nobody else can view any confidential information you may have transmitted.
If you think you’ve given credit card or banking information to a fraudulent site, immediately notify your credit card company and/or financial institution. To contact us regarding your TD Canada Trust credit cards call 1-800-983-8472, or call EasyLine telephone banking at 1-866-222-3456.