GIPC and CPSC Issue Guidelines for Smart Online Shopping

During this holiday season, it’s hard to believe that “not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.” Americans are taking to their mice—computer mice, that is—in record numbers to facilitate their holiday shopping. The Department of Commerce expects a 15.7% jump in online 3Q spending over last year’s $44.7 billion.

While we look to the Internet for blowout deals or totally unique items, online consumers must remain vigilant about who they are purchasing their products from. Unfortunately, the line between legitimate and illicit can get increasingly fuzzy over the anonymity of the Internet, with devious websites selling fake products that could expose consumers to identity theft, malware, or even physical harm.

Today, the U.S. Chamber’s Global IP Center and Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a set of tips and guidelines to empower consumers to make smart and informed decisions when shopping online. When navigating the e-marketplace, consumers should live by these rules of thumb:

  • If it’s too good to be true . . . it probably is
  • Insist on secure transactions.
  • Check to see if the product has been recalled.
  • Beware of counterfeit holiday lights and extension cords.
  • Be certain that replacement cell phone batteries have been certified by a nationally-recognized test laboratory.
  • Report potential spam and faulty products.
  • Be particularly careful when purchasing medicine online.
  • Once you receive the product, scrutinize labels, packaging, and contents.
  • Never click on a link in an unsolicited e-mail.
  • Warn friends and family of illegitimate product sources.

For a more detailed look at what you can do to be a smart online shopper, please click here to see the full release.

To learn more about what government and industry are doing to fight counterfeiting and piracy, visit

Subscribe for updates from GIPC