When making a purchase online, the seller should be evaluated. If it is a business that you trust, you can feel safe placing an order, but when it comes to unfamiliar businesses or internet auctions, there may be cause for concern. Some of the best deals are found in these situations and it would be unfortunate to lose out on them because you just don't know if it is safe. In the case of unknown businesses, confirm there is an actual physical address and phone number for the business. P. O. boxes should cause worry. Calling the phone number and speaking to a representative may help determine the validity of the business.
Read any terms and conditions provided, including warranty liability, and any arbitration or suing restrictions. Look up online reviews of the seller, including a reliability report from the Better Business Bureau. If it is an internet auction, check ratings of the seller and read any comments posted. Auctions are a very common place for fraudulent activity, so if an offer seems too good to be true or the purchase is large take extra caution. Make sure in all online purchases you read all information available about the product so you know exactly what you are getting.
In other words, don't buy a camera that is an amazing deal because it doesn't come with the $100 battery that it needs for operation. Check return and refund policies as well as shipping and handling prices. If this information is not provided, contact the seller before committing to the purchase. If everything checks out, print or save all information about the business and the transaction including address and phone number, terms and conditions, product and warranty information, anyone you may have spoken to or e-mails sent or received.
Be sure to pay with a credit card. When you get the item, inspect it immediately to be sure there are no problems, and if there are, contact the seller immediately. What happens when all does not go well? The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) has established legal guidelines for electronic transactions. This gives electronic signatures validity and makes them enforceable as if they were paper signatures. Contracts for commerce are regulated primarily by Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC).
If there is a violation of a contract, it should be reported to law enforcement immediately. If this problem is related to business, it can be reported to the Better Business Bureau at https://odr. bbb. org/odrweb/public/GetStarted. aspx. If you were defrauded by a business, or made a purchase from a business that never existed, complaints can be filed with the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center or IC3. Unapproved spending on a credit card or bank account gets a bit more serious. In these cases, action must be taken immediately to prevent further charges.
This should immediately be reported to law enforcement as well as one of the three major credit reporting agencies to place a fraud alert. Obtain a copy of your credit report and report any discrepancies immediately. Contact somebody within a security or fraud department for all personal accounts that may have been used or created and cancel them immediately. You will have to fill out forms for all disputed charges so they can be investigated. Putting a stop to identity theft early is the best way to resolve the problems.
A complaint should also be filed with the FTC and submitted to the police department with which the original report was filed. Going through these steps and continuously checking credit reports for a significant period of time after these incidents will assist you in getting marks incurred permanently wiped off your credit report and will help you maintain your correct credit score. The Fair Credit Billing Act makes credit card purchases the safest way to shop online. This federal law applies to all disputes pertaining to billing errors and unauthorized charges.
It limits consumer responsibility to $50 and can include charges that were fraudulently made, charges for items that were not delivered as agreed, math errors, fees incurred through payments and credits that were not posted to the account, or charges posted with wrong amounts. The Credit Card Fraud Act is another form of consumer protection that expanded definitions of credit and debit cards to any "access device" which may also include account numbers. It recently increased maximum penalties and detailed harsh repeat-offender penalties.
If the perpetrator is found, they will be liable for their actions based on state and federal statutes. Laws governing identity theft are generally governed by state, and have different names, degrees, and penalties. The US Code has established laws regulating online conduct such as unsolicited advertisements, child protection, unfair or deceptive methods of competition, and interception of communications; however, there does not appear to be many in depth regulations when it comes to online purchases.
Ultimately, using caution in choosing conduct in an online environment and ensuring proper security of personal data eliminate opportunity for fraud. As with fraud within businesses, opportunity is the easiest part of the fraud triangle to eliminate. Pressures and opportunities are impossible to control in a global atmosphere full of strangers. Costs of e-commerce fraud are different depending on the situation. Costs to merchants include tools used to deter fraud, such as the Address Verification Service (AVS) which compares address input with the address listed by the card's issuing bank.
Money is still lost due to fraudulent payments, also presenting a cost to the company. Costs to credit card companies who suffer from unauthorized use of credit cards and the Fair Credit Billing Act can be substantial, and may involve the loss of money as well as employee labor used to resolve the situation and lawyer fees when necessary. Losses an individual may suffer can be due to stolen funds in bank accounts or other fees incurred by someone who steals personal information.
Thousands of dollars in lawyer fees may be required to rectify identity theft situations as well as the possibility of permanent damage to a person's credit report. Fraudulent phishing scams or other schemes may induce sacrifice of personal information and loss of funds. Consumers may pay for products never received and be forced to eat the costs personally. Ultimately, the FBI recorded $183 million dollar loss to Americans in 2005 alone, with trends that expect to continue to increase.
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