Shop Online Safely
The Internet is an exciting tool that
puts vast information at your fingertips. With a click
of a mouse, it lets you buy an airline ticket, book
a hotel, send flowers to a friend, or purchase your
Good deals, convenience, and choice
abound on the Internet. But before you use all the Internet
has to offer, be “cyber“ smart to make the
most of your online experience.
on the Internet
Shopping online offers lots of benefits that you won’t
find shopping in a store or by mail. The Internet is
always open – seven days a week, 24 hours a day
– and bargains can be numerous online. Shopping
on the Internet is no less safe than shopping in a store
or by mail. Keep the following tips in mind to help
ensure that your online shopping experience is a safe
- Use a secure browser. This is the software you
use to navigate the Internet. Your browser should
comply with industry security standards, such as Secure
Sockets Layer (SSL). These standards scramble the
purchase information you send over the Internet, helping
to secure your transaction. Most computers come with
a browser installed. You also can download some browsers
for free over the Internet.
- Shop with companies you know. Anyone can set up
shop online under almost any name. If you’re
not familiar with a merchant, ask for a paper catalog
or brochure to get a better idea of their merchandise
and services. Also, determine the company’s
refund and return policies before you place your order.
These should be posted on the company’s Web
- Keep your password(s) private. Be creative when
you establish a password, and never give it to anyone.
Avoid using a telephone number, birth date or a portion
of your Social Security number. Instead, use a combination
of numbers, letters and symbols.
- Pay by credit or charge card. If you pay by credit
or charge card online, your transaction will be protected
by the Fair Credit Billing Act. Under this law, you
have the right to dispute charges under certain circumstances
and temporarily withhold payment while the creditor
is investigating them. In the event of unauthorized
use of your credit or charge card, you generally would
be held liable only for the first $50 in charges.
Some companies offer an online shopping guarantee
that ensures you will not be held responsible for
any unauthorized charges made online, and some cards
may provide additional warranty, return and/or purchase
- Keep a record. Be sure to print a copy of your
purchase order and confirmation number for your records.
Also, you should know that the Mail and Telephone
Order Merchandise Rule covers online orders. This
means that unless the company states otherwise, your
merchandise must be delivered within 30 days; and
if there are delays, the company must notify you.
- Pay your bills online. Some
companies let you pay bills and check your account
status online. Before you sign up for any service,
evaluate how the company secures your financial and
personal information. Many companies explain their
security procedures on their Web site. If you don’t
see a security description, call or email the company
EASY AS ABC
When exploring online, think ABC to
remember the privacy and security questions
you should ask about a company.
me. What information does the company collect
about me and is it secure?
How does the company use that information and
what is the benefit to me?
What choices do I have about the company’s
use of information about me? Can I opt-out of
used for other purposes, and how?
on the Internet
Technology now provides companies with the ability to
collect information about you and potentially give or
sell that information to others. While the Internet
can serve as a tremendous resource for information,
products, and services, you should be sure to safeguard
your privacy online by following these tips.
- Keep personal information private. Don’t disclose
personal information – such as your address,
telephone number, Social Security number, or email
address – unless you know who is collecting
the information, why they are collecting it, and how
they will use it. If you have children, teach them
to check with you before giving out personal –
or family – information online.
post their privacy policies on their Web site. This
policy should disclose what information is being collected
on the Web site and how that information is being
used. Before you provide a company with personal information,
a policy, send an email or written message to the
Web site to ask about its policy and request that
it be posted on the site.
- Make choices. Many companies give you a choice
on their Web site as to whether and how your personal
information is used. These companies allow you to
decline – or “opt-out” of –
having personal information, such as your email address,
used for marketing purposes or shared with other companies.
Look for this choice as part of the company’s