Sunday, March 22, 2009

How to Shop Online Safely

Many of my clients are still reluctant to shop on the internet for fear of having their financial and identity information stolen. These are valid concerns, and something we all need to pay attention to. However, shopping online is much safer than many may think. There's also a lot of protection built in for buyers.

So how do you know that the site you're on is safe? There's a couple of things to consider before making a purchase online.

The first is the site itself. Is it a reputable company or an unknown site? If the site is a well-known reputable company like,, etc. then you don't have to worry. You can rest assured that these sites have the highest level of security in place.

If the site is an unknown one, it may still be safe to shop on. Look for the quality of the site. Does it look professional or kind of sleezy? Is there a valid phone number and contact information? Feel free to call the phone number to check things out before you buy. Check the return policy also. If the site looks legit, the next thing to check out is the purchase page.

BEFORE you enter your credit card information (or social security number) on a web page, you want to make sure it's a secure page (i.e. encrypted). To do this, look at the URL (i.e., web address). If the page is encrypted, the web address will begin with "https". The "s" is the key here. If you look at most web pages, you'll notice the "s" is missing (that is, most web pages start, "http://www....."

If you don't see the "s" after "http", then don't enter your social security or credit card number.
Don't worry about other pages on the site that don't have the "s" (this is normal since there's no reason to encrypt product information). But any pages asking you to enter sensitive information (like credit cards and social security) should have the "s" assuring you the information you give out will be encrypted and protected from cyberears. By the way, the same is tru for your online banking sites too.

If you're still concerned about identity theft and the dangers of online shopping, you might consider signing up for LifeLock. LifeLock is the only Identity Theft Prevention Solution backed by a one-million dollar guarantee! Click here to get a 10% discount.

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For more information on identity theft, click here.

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