How to Shop Online Securely


With technological advances like SSL and SET, shopping in the virtual world can be as safe today as shopping anywhere else. As in any sales environment, use prudence and common sense in your purchasing decisions. These recommendations come courtesy of Visa.

Things You'll Need

  • Credit Cards And Loans
  • Receipts
  • Secure Web Sites
  • Shop with online merchants that you know and trust. You can find out about a merchant you are not familiar with by visiting its Web site and reading guarantees, warranties and return information.

  • Look for signs of security on the site. Symbols like an unbroken lock or key, a URL that begins with https:// and the words "Secure Socket Layer" (SSL) mean that no one but you and the merchant can view your payment information.

  • Take a look at privacy statements to see how your personal information will be used. The most reliable online merchants will always make this information easily available.

  • Pay for your purchase with a credit card or check card. You will be protected in exactly the same way you are when you use your card at the store, order from a catalog by mail, or call in an order over the phone.

  • Keep a record of your transaction. Save and/or print the online confirmation of your order.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have a question about a merchant on the Web, contact the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Online for information.
  • Some merchants ask you to create a personal account that requires a password to enter an order. This is a secure method as long as you always keep your password private, create passwords that are hard to figure out (avoiding numbers like your birthdate, phone number or social security number) and change your passwords often.
  • If you feel uncomfortable entering credit card information online, look for merchants that will also accept payment by phone, fax or mail.
  • You should never send payment information via e-mail. Information that travels over the Internet as regular electronic mail is not fully protected from being read from outside parties.
  • If a merchant asks for your credit card number as proof of your age, do not give it. Your age cannot be verified with a credit card number.
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