Internet Security- Safe OnLine Shopping

When you make a purchase with a credit card, you are trusting that the company or person web site / phone number you trying to access will take reasonable precautions to protect your information so that it can't be used in identity theft. But even if the other parties safeguard your credit card information, there's no guarantee they won't deliberately share other personal information about you (name, e-mail address, phone numbers and more) with others, increasing the number of unwanted phone calls and spam mail that you receive. Check the privacy policy of any company that you do business with online. When you fill out a web form, read it carefully so that you know what you are agreeing to, and look for check boxes that you have to check or uncheck to avoid getting spammed. Don't submit sensitive information such as social security and credit card numbers to web sites that are not secure. Specifically be cartful for these web site categories(Gambling, Games, Porn, Sex, Matchmakers and Auction ).

The same things can go wrong shopping in cyberspace as in the real world. Sometimes it is simply a case of a computer glitch or poor customer service. Other times, shoppers are cheated by clever cyber crooks.

This guide offers advice on how to make your online shopping experiences enjoyable and safe:

1. Shop at web site that you already know ( Number 1 Rule!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Shop with companies you already familiar.Do not fool yourself with fancy or professional looking web sites with innocent images.

Think before you buy. If the online advertisement or junk email offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Reliable companies should advertise their physical business address and at least one phone number, either customer service or an order line. Call the phone number and ask questions to determine if the business is legitimate. Even if you call after hours, many companies have a "live" answering service, especially if they don't want to miss orders. Ask how the merchant handles returned merchandise and complaints. Find out if it offers full refunds or only store credits.

Remember the hidden extras, which can push up the price of your online purchase. Postage and packing costs, tax and Customs charges for goods from overseas can add greatly to the final cost.

2. Use secure web sites

Make sure you are on a "secure" site before you give your name, address or credit card details. Look for a padlock or a key symbol, which are usually in the bottom corner of your screen. On a secure site, your information is scrambled into code, (encrypted) before being sent over the Internet, and stored on a secure database. If the company want to pass on your details to other companies, it should give you the right to say no. Look for a check box on the site, and make a choice about disclosing your details.


3. Wireless connections in Public places

Be aware of free Wi-Fi wireless connections in public places such as Airport, Internet Cafe, Hotel, Restaurants.
Criminals may set up free wireless networks that act as a trap for travelers. They are not real hotspots but ad hoc peer-to-peer networks set up by an individual with a laptop nearby. They have the same name as a legitimate hotspot at the airport or something similar, such as "Free Airport Wi-Fi". You're able access the Internet when you connect to one of these networks because the attacker has set up his computer to let you browse the Internet via his connection. But because you're using his connection, all your traffic goes through their laptop and they can see everything you do online, including Credit Cards numbers, all your usernames and passwords when you're not using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or a secure web site (the Web Site's URL will start with https://).

4. Check the web site's Privacy and Security Policies page

Most e-commerce web site offers information about how it processes your order and tell you if they intend to share your information with a third party or affiliate company. They should ask your permission if they can share your information in order for them to send offers or updates. If the web site do not have any policy , you can expect to receive "spam" (unsolicited e-mail) and even mail or phone solicitations from these companies.


5. Check your financial statements:

Check your credit card statements for suspicious entries. If you spot anything shady, query the transaction and consider canceling that card.

Keep records of all your transactions. Print details from the web page you used, write down records of order numbers and billing address. Keep copies of any emails you exchange with the supplier.


6. What we should use : Credit Cards, Debit Cards, Cash, or Checks?

Credit card is the safest way to shop on the Internet.You always can dispute unauthorized or wrong charges on your credit card, and you can withhold payments during a creditor investigation. When it has been determined that your credit was used without authorization, you are only responsible for the first $50 in charges. You are rarely asked to pay this charge. We recommend that you obtain one credit card that you use only for online payments to make it easier to detect wrongful credit charges.

E-commerce shopping by check leaves you vulnerable to bank fraud, and sending a cashier's check or money order doesn't give you any protection if you have problems with the purchase.

Make sure your credit card is a true credit card and not a debit card, a check card, or an ATM card. As with checks, a debit card exposes your bank account to thieves. Your checking account could be wiped out in minutes. Further, debit and ATM cards are not protected by federal law to the extent that credit cards are.


7. Don't give out your Social Security Number

Providing your Social Security number is not a requirement for placing an order at an e-commerce web site. There is no need for the merchant to ask for it. Giving out your Social Security number could lead to having your identity stolen.


8. Never send your credit card info by E-mail

Do not send your credit card details in an email, this is not a secure means of transmitting information and can be easily copied to others.


9. Disclose Only your name and address When You Order

When placing an order, there is certain information that you must provide to the web merchant such as your name and address. Often, a merchant will try to obtain more information about you. They may ask questions about your leisure lifestyle or annual income. This information is used to target you for marketing purposes. It can lead to "spam" or even direct mail and telephone solicitations.

Don't answer any question you feel is not required to process your order. Often, the web site will mark which questions need to be answered with an asterisk (*). Should a company require information you are not comfortable sharing, leave the site and find a different company for the product you seek.

10. Select a unique number for password and don't share it
Most web sites give the shopper an option to log-in before placing or viewing an order. This is done in order to save shopper information and reuse them without entering them again. The shopper is usually required to provide a username and a password. When selecting a password, do not use your name or your family names or commonly known information, such as your birth date, mother's maiden name, or numbers from your driver's license or Social Security number. Do not reuse the same password for other sites. The best password has at least eight characters and includes special characters such as -( ) ,numbers and letters.

11. Be familiar with the shipping ,cancellation, return policies
Check the web site for delivery, cancellation and return policies.

Make sure you have the option to cancel and return without any penalties (to receive a proper refund)
Is there a time limit or other restrictions to the return or cancellation?
Is there a restocking charge if you need to cancel or return the order?
Do you get a store credit, or will the company fully refund your charges to your credit card?

Safe OnLine Banking click here............................................

For tips how to protect against Identity Theft click here........

For tips how to protect your PC click here............................

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