Buying Presents Online? Learn How To Protect Your Credit Card

Worried about your credit card number when shopping online?

Realize that the same consumer protections afforded to you offline apply to online purchases. For example:

  • A company must ship your orders within the amount of time promised by its online store or e-mail confirmations. If no amount of time is specified, the company must ship your order within 30 days or send you an "option notice," allowing you to cancel your order.
  • As for payment, a company may not charge your credit card until your order has been shipped.
  • And if your credit card number is stolen incident to the transaction? Most cards will not hold you liable for fraudulent credit card purchases made with your card. If they do, the amount of your liability cannot exceed $50.

If you suspect fowl play by an online vendor, report your suspicions to your credit card issuer immediately. For fraudulent sales shipped to you by U.S. mail, file an online complaint with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service by visiting: http://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/forms/MailFraudComplaint.aspx