You have probably heard about the data breaches and viruses that steal personal information around the Internet. It is hard not to read a news story about that online these days. Many online merchants go to great lengths to protect the personal information of their customers, but there are steps that you must take as well to ensure that your personal information is safe from prying eyes.
- Today most merchants use security on their websites to block unwanted visitors from stealing your information. This is denoted by the HTTPS in your browsers address bar. If a site does not use this protocol, don’t shop there as the transaction will not be secure.
- Check review about the merchant before you enter your information to see what other users experienced when entering their information on the site. These users could provide valuable insight into how the company operates and what they experienced with they shopped there.
- Never volunteer any extra information that isn’t necessary to complete the transaction. For example, some websites will request additional email addresses or phone numbers. Never give out anything other than the bare minimum that is needed for a successful transaction.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if a site says they sell my information?
If a site sells your information, they usually sell parts of your info but not all of it. Still, this could open you up to receiving advertisements both in your email and even in the mail that you may not want.
A website asks for a lot of information about me but it doesn’t say it is required. Do I need to add that information?
No. We recommend that you never enter anything more about yourself other than that which is required to complete the transaction.
What should I do if I suspect my information has been stolen?
If you think someone has stolen your identity, contact the authorities immediately and notify all your banks and credit card companies as quickly as possible. The faster you act, the less damage that can be done your good name.
What if a site doesn’t use HTTPS in their web address?
If a site doesn’t use HTTP over SSL then that site isn’t secure. This means that other users could possible hack into what you are doing and potentially steal your information. Never shop on a site that doesn’t use the secure socket layer protocol for HTTP.