Tips for shopping online


Shop at safe websites

A secure site is one that encrypts (scrambles, encodes) transferred data so that someone cannot steal information packets that contain sensitive information. Secure websites can be identified by:

  • Web address
    • If you look at the location field where the website address is displayed, a secure website will begin with https://. The "s" that is displayed after "http" indicates that website uses TLS security technology. [The "https" may not appear in the address until you enter a transaction section of the website (e.g., ordering, submitting information).]
  • Browser symbol: The following symbols signify a secure Web location:
    • padlock
    • unbroken key

Evaluate and review the website before you order

  • Locate company contact information (physical and electronic).
  • Contact the Better Business Bureau.
  • Read the website's privacy and security policies.

Use your credit card

  • The Federal Fair Credit Billing Act affords consumers the right to dispute charges on your credit card, and you can withhold payments during a creditor investigation. If your account has been used by an unauthorized individual, you are only responsible for $50.
  • Do not use a debit card, which contains sensitive banking information.

Quick tips

  • When you create an account with an e-commerce site, use an account name and password that is unique. Use an alphanumeric sequence that makes sense to you (important date and an object).
  • Do not give our your Social Security numberĀ (SSN).
  • Provide only the information that is required for the transaction; be stingy with your personal information.