Category: Student Life Outside of School Environment Element: Commerce Lesson: Shopping Online Grade Level: 6-12

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1 Digital Citizenship Lesson Category: Student Life Outside of School Environment Element: Commerce Lesson: Shopping Online Grade Level: 6-12 Part I Introduction [Overview of topic] brief description of the element and how it impacts the student. According to the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, in 2008 more than $26 billion was spent on Online Shopping. From.mp3 music to automobiles, trips abroad to trinkets you can purchase nearly anything that you might want over the Internet. Is it safe? It can be, if you know how to protect yourself when making online purchases. Part II Class/Advisory Activity 1. Video Cyber Savvy Guide to Online Shopping (4:38 minutes) Shopping Safely Online (4:22 minutes) Online Purchasing: Pirated Software for Sale Shopping Online: Safety Tips (4:57 minutes) 2. Discussion Questions 1. What types of merchandise do you or your parents buy online? 2. What strategies can be used to find the best merchandise at the best price from the best retailers online? 3. What do you know about vocabulary terms such as ebay, PayPal, secure site, cookies, and account logins? 4. What factors would you consider before buying merchandise from someone off ebay? 5. If you don t receive merchandise you ordered online, how would you go about getting it? 6. What would you do if the merchandise you buy online is damaged? 1

2 3. Activities 1. Discuss ewise brochure. 2. Review the Online Shopping Strategies handout. Identify search strategies for shopping online. Include in the discussion consumer review sites, such as Epinions.com, Shopping.com. Part III Reflection 1. Writing Prompt(s) 2. Journal Writing 1. What safety indicators do you need to look for when providing information for online purchases? 2. Identify several pieces of information that you give when making online purchases that need to be secure. 3. Why is it important to consult your parents before making online purchases? 1. What are some advantages of online shopping? What are some disadvantages? 2. What steps would you take to make sure you weren t buying merchandise from a dishonest merchant? 3. What dangers do you there are in doing online banking or purchasing stocks online? Part IV Extension Activities 1. Class/Advis ory School Activities 2. Home Interaction Links You are thinking about buying a 10 MP digital camera. Use the following evaluation sites to get the best camera you can for $300. Why did you choose the one you did. Amazon.com and Epinions.com Discuss online shopping with your parents. What safeguards are in place to ensure secure shopping from home for your family? What concerns need to be addressed, like up-to-date antivirus protection, scanning for malware, etc.? Part V Resources National Consumers League Safe Shopping.org Business Software Alliance On Guard Online Safety tips for safe shopping online Online Software Scams A Threat to Your Security Internet Auctions Quick Facts, Including Tips for Buyers and Sellers Online Investing How to Invest Safely 2

3 Consumer Review Sites Comparison shopping sites, which list products, consumer reviews, prices, online retailers and retailer reviews by consumers Epinions.com Shopzilla.com Amazon.com cnet reviews ZDNet reviews TripAdvisor.com 3

4 Why Shop Online? The Internet opens up a world of products and services, including some that may not normally be available in your area. Information is easy to find, and comparing prices from different sellers takes only a few minutes. By shopping around on the Internet, you can find some terrific buys at stores that you might never travel to in the physical world. Plus you can do it conveniently, any time of day or night. Looking for an out-of-print book or that perfect gift for someone with a particular hobby? On the Internet you may be able to find it without even leaving home! Know the Risks While there are great shopping opportunities on the Internet, there are also some possible risks to consider: Invasions of privacy. Many Web sites ask for personal information to grant access, to complete a transaction, or for marketing purposes. Your information can also be passed along to other companies. While there may be valid uses for your personal information, it can also be abused or used in ways that you never intended. Financial fraud. When you provide your credit card, debit card or other payment information online it could be intercepted by thieves. It s also possible that financial information stored in company databases could be stolen by computer hackers or even by dishonest employees. Dishonest or irresponsible sellers. There are plenty of legitimate companies online, but there are also fraudulent sellers out to cheat consumers. It s not hard for someone to set up a fancy Web page or pose as a reputable seller in an online auction. And it s cheap and easy to send offers or solicit charitable donations by . Dishonest sellers may misrepresent what they re offering or take your payment and never give anything in return. Irresponsible sellers may not fill orders promptly or take care of problems. Resources The National Consumers League provides advice about telemarketing and Internet fraud. You can report suspected scams with an online form. This federal agency Web site provides consumer information and publications. The Consumer s Resource Handbook available on this government Web site lists local, state and federal agencies, major trade associations, and consumer groups. The Better Business Bureau reliability program for participating online merchants links to central BBB site for reports about businesses and information on how to contact individual BBBs across the U.S. National Consumers League 1701 K Street NW, Suite 1200, Washington, DC The National Consumers League developed this brochure with the support of MasterCard International How to Shop Safely Online

5 5Things to Look for When Shopping Online Privacy protections. Reputable Web site operators will clearly state privacy policies in an easily accessible place. Some Web sites display seals to show they meet privacy standards set by self-regulatory programs. Since programs vary, find out what the standards are; don t just assume they provide the level of privacy you want. Understand what information is collected and how it is used. Look for sites whose policies or privacy programs enable you to choose whether and in what circumstances your personal information will be used or shared with others. Information about the offer. Good companies will provide you with plenty of information and make it easy to find. Make sure you know what you re buying, how much it costs, the terms of any guarantees or warranties, the return or cancellation policies, and how to contact the company if you have questions. This is crucial when you are shopping online, since you can t actually see or use the product or service before you buy it. Information about the seller. Look for the company s physical address and telephone number. You may need that information if there are problems after the sale. And think ahead about how you will solve problems if they arise. This is especially important to consider if you are doing business with a company or individual far away. Look for information about whether the seller belongs to a trade group or participates in a program such as BBBOnLine that offers helps resolve complaints. Delivery date. Know when the products will be delivered or the services performed. Security. Good Web sites will provide information about how they protect your financial information when it is transmitted and stored. Your computer browser can tell you if the place where you are about to send the information is secure. Look for an unbroken key or closed lock at the bottom of the browser window. Guard your personal information. Don t provide information that you re uncomfortable giving. NEVER give anyone the password that you use to log on to your online or Internet Service Provider. Don t provide financial account information unless you are paying for a purchase using that account. Check the seller s reputation. Learn as much as you can about companies or individuals BEFORE you do business with them. Check with the Better Business Bureau and your state and local consumer agencies (see Resources) to find out about complaints. See if the Web site has a feedback forum where people can put information about their transactions. Ask your friends about their favorite online merchants. Bear in mind that just because a seller has no complaints or a good reputation, it doesn t guarantee that things will go smoothly for you. Consider taxes and shipping costs. There may be taxes or duties on your purchase, especially if the transaction is international. Factor in shipping and handling charges as well to determine the total cost. You may also have to pay for shipping if you want to return the item. Ask about insurance. Will the seller pay to insure the shipment, or is it your expense? How much does it cost? Is other insurance available to protect you if you don t get what you paid for or if you are dissatisfied? Some auction sites provide insurance to buyers. Be sure you know how insurance programs work and how much they cover. Pay the safest way. Credit cards are generally the best way to pay because you have legal rights to dispute the charges if the product or service is misrepresented or never delivered. You also have limited liability if your card number is stolen or misused. You don t necessarily have the same protection when you are billed through other third parties, such as your Internet Service Provider or your telephone company. And your legal Online Shopping Tips! your money will probably be gone. dispute rights are not the same when you pay with a debit card as with a credit card, though most debit card issuers voluntarily offer similar protection. If you pay by check or money order, by the time you realize there is a problem Use an escrow service. When dealing with individuals or companies that can t accept payment by credit card, escrow services can provide protection. They hold your money until you have confirmed that you received the product or service and then release the payment to the seller. There is a small fee, but the peace of mind is worth it. Keep records. Print out all the information on your transaction, including the product description, delivery information, privacy policy, warranties, and any confirmation notices that the seller sends you.

6 Online Shopping Strategies Knowing how to shop for the best products / prices and the safest deals online can save you a lot of time, money and hassle. As far as the best deals, you need to know how to: find the best products by getting professional and personal reviews on products search for the best prices, using an online shopping comparison web site find the most reliable online retailers, using an online shopping comparison web site find the shipping and return policies of online retailers when to buy from an online auction site, such as ebay There are millions of products available online. Some are good and some are not so good. How do you sort out the good from the bad? You can get professional reviews from websites such as: Consumer Reports (online or magazine subscription required) cnet reviews ZDNet reviews Specific types of product reviews can be found by using a search engine such as Google.com and typing in the product category you are looking for, such as digital camera review. You ll find numerous listings to choose from many that are unbiased reviews. You can also get reviews from consumers that write reviews for items that they purchased. These sites allow consumers to not only post reviews, and some scour the Internet for merchants and their prices on products. Consumers may also write reviews on the merchants, which help you know which ones are the most trustworthy to get you your product in a timely manner, in good condition. Also, consumers provide feedback on any problems they have the retailer regarding damaged goods or returning items. Amazon.com Epinions.com or Shopping.com Shopzilla.com Shows average of all ratings and how many people reviewed this item. Users can click on reviews to see reviews in depth.

7 Shows average of all ratings and how many people reviewed this item. User can click on reviews to see reviews in depth. User can sort by store rating or by price Name of merchant, trusted store rating (out of 5 check marks) and how many people rated this store Current price, whether shipping is free and a link to the product on merchant s web site. Part of an actual review on a digital camera.

8 Online Auctions A little knowledge can go a long ways. Buying from sellers with integrity and honesty will make for a smooth transaction. Use the tips below to help you bid confidently. Know the product you are bidding on read the entire description. o Is it a name brand? o Does it get good product reviews from sites listed above? o Is it new or reconditioned / refurbished? Sometimes products are cheaper buying from an online store rather than an online auction; do your homework first. Do not bid on a product on impulse you may pay too much for it, Know the rating of the seller only bid on items from sellers with high feedback percentages in the 90% range or higher. Read negative feedback on sellers for potential problems. Placing a bid is a legally binding contract. Know when the bidding ends. Know the shipping policies and fees before bidding. Know ahead of time how much you are willing to pay for an item. Need it now? Consider the Buy it Now option. Know the return policies in case of defective product or if you change your mind. Bid on items that do not require cash for payment use an online payment system like PayPal. Provide feedback to the seller so others will know how your purchase went and the quality of the product you received. Know how to contact the online auction site or PayPal if you had problems with the seller. Sometimes you may be able to get some or all of your money back through them, if the seller is not willing to work with you. Save all s and print out all transactions for later referral. Do NOT respond to phishing s from any auction / Paypal site that has a link for you to login. Phishing s are designed to steal your username and password. Report all spoofs to or

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