Online shopping is fast and easy, but it's still "buyer beware." Providing your information online can be as safe as providing it to a store you visit in-person, as long as you follow a few simple rules:
- Make sure your computer's security software is up-to-date
- Shop well-known brands or sites with which you are familiar
- Make sure the site uses a secure check-out – look for https in the url or for other security indicators
- Purchase using your credit card
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is a scam
- Understand how the site will use your data and the choices that are available to you regarding its use by reading the site’s privacy statement
Check out these links for additional tips on making online shopping safe:
- Stay Safe Online Shopping (National Cyber Security Alliance)
- You Are Here (FTC)
- How to Shop Online More Safely (AARP)
- Safeshopping.org (American Bar Association)
- Tips for Shopping Safely Online (Better Business Bureau)
How to read a privacy statement
- What information is the company collecting about me?
- Is the information necessary for the online activity I am engaging in?
- How is information collected about me?
- How does the site use personal information once it is collected?
- Do I have a choice about the way information about me is used or shared? How can I make that choice?
- Is there a place where I can ask questions about my privacy and the use of my information?
Helpful Privacy & Security Sites
- EPIC Online Guide to Practical Privacy Tools (Electronic Privacy Information Center)
- Consumer Information (Federal Trade Commission)