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How Secure is Internet Shopping?

Sandra Prior
Jul 14, 2008
There are a number of ways to establish whether a site is secure. If you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer, when you enter a secure page (the page where you enter your payment or other confidential details), a message box should pop up to tell you that the page is secure. You can suppress these warnings.

Once the secure page is on the screen, you should be able to see either a locked padlock or a key at the right hand side of the status bar at the bottom of your browser window. If you double click on this icon, you can view details of the security certificate that the site has been awarded. Additionally the beginning of the web address changes from http to https with the 's' indicating a secure page.

The miracles of modern technology will protect you to a large extent, but you'll need to use your own common sense as well. Stupidity brings its own rewards, and sometimes people get defrauded because they were dimwitted enough to be careless. Use the same caution that you would with any purchase. Stick with companies you trust. If you haven't heard of them before, do some research first. A reputable company includes details of its business on its site - at the very least you should make sure you have a business address and a telephone number before you make a purchase.

Look for sites that are members of reputable Internet Shopping schemes with strict guidelines. Trust your instincts. It isn't only the people at the other end of the transaction that you have to consider. Don't forget to protect yourself from the thieving ways of your co-workers, your children, or even your spouse.

If other people have access to your computer, make sure your credit card details aren't left in the browser for all to see. Guard your passwords with your life. Don't leave them lying around on sticky notes.

The Many Talents of a Credit Card

Your credit card is an invaluable ally in your Net shopping forays. Not only does it enable you to live vastly beyond your means, but also it's very concerned for your welfare and looks after you in all sorts of ways you might not be aware of. It is generally good practice to use a credit card to shop online because your liability is limited if your card is used fraudulently.

Additionally, if you need to get your money back on purchases because the goods are faulty or do not arrive, you can claim against the credit card company as well as the seller. This is particularly useful if the seller goes out of business.

If you have a problem or someone uses your card fraudulently, your credit card company will fight your battles for you, provided you reported your card stolen and went through the due procedure with the bank.

It's worth checking with your credit provider or bank to find out what its policy is, because most cover you fairly comprehensively. Of course, in all cases, you're only covered if it isn't your fault. We're back to your thieving, dishonest friends and family again - if your card is used fraudulently with your knowledge or consent, then you're on your own. And it serves you right.

I Know My Rights

You have exactly the same rights when you shop online as you do when you shop in a store. Your statutory rights state that goods you purchase must be of satisfactory quality, they must be as described and they must be fit for their purpose.
About the Author
Subscribe to Sandra Prior's Online Newsletter and get up to date Computer Technology News delivered right to your email box for free. See website for details http://usacomputers.rr.nu and http://sacomputers.rr.nu.
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