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Shop online safely: Look for the 'S' and don't use Venmo, Zelle, or PayPal

#1 Any legit and secure site will have an 'https' at the beginning of the address. #2 Don't use Venmo, Zelle or PayPal to buy items online.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Online shopping, you can do it on your phone while sitting on your couch with a cup of coffee in hand, or right from your kitchen table, even when the brick-and-mortar store is closed. 

But don't miss the ‘S’. Seeing this one letter in the web address of the site you're shopping on means everything and the scammers are hoping you forget to look.

"It could be enticing and some of these do seem legitimate but you want to make sure you're careful and do your research before committing to do anything,” said Shelbi Felblinger of the Better Business Bureau.

Part of that research is taking a very close look at the shopping site address. Check out our example, the two addresses look very similar, but one is a legit and secure website to put your card information into and the other is not.

When you're in a rush, when you're on your phone, when you're tired of shopping online, you may miss it. If there's no ‘S’ you don't want to buy from the site.

Now, let's talk about how you're going to pay for your online purchase. There are three main ways-- credit card, debit card, and a cash app.

“The best way to pay is either with your debit or credit card because you're going to have those protections that are going to be brought back to you,” said Andy Mattingly, Chief Operating Officer, of Forum Credit Union.

Person-to-person payment apps like Zelle, Venmo, and PayPal work the same way, once you hit send, the money is gone for good. So, if something goes wrong with your purchase or delivery, the app won't help you get your money back and neither will your bank.

One more note on this, while your debit card is better to use than a cash app to buy something from a website, your credit card is even better.

Why? Your credit card is just a charge, that can be easily reversed. Your debit card is linked to your bank account and that means real money is out of your account. A refund isn't as quick or easy as with a credit card.


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