Feds aim to help consumers with online shopping

WASHINGTON — The holiday shopping season is in high gear and apparently the
federal government wants to be certain people know how to shop online without
busting the family budget.

The Federal Trade Commission has a video posted online called “Online Shopping
Tips.” It offers fundamental instructions including “plan ahead by setting a
budget, ask yourself ‘how much do I want to spend?'” It further advises not to
forget shipping fees.

In case consumers aren’t smart enough to figure out which toaster oven or big
screen TV set to buy, the government video recommends consumers think about
what they really want and need: “Are there features that would be nice to have
but you can live without?”

And apparently aiming to ensure that consumers aren’t oblivious to how to save
money when shopping, the video suggests: “Check shopping comparison sites to
compare the price of the product at different websites.” It further
recommends consumers look for coupons, discounts or free shipping.

The video does include some helpful information about online security,
pointing out that website addresses where credit card information is exchanged
should be HTTPS, the “S” signifying a secure site where data is encrypted.

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