Are You Worried About Online Security?

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The following is a guest post. Enjoy!

Are You Worried About Online Security?
These days, we rely on the Internet more and more for shopping. It is available 24 hours a day, and we can shop for anything on the web, from the weekly groceries, to home ware and clothing. It is also the place we use to research and shop around for insurance, credit cards deals, savings accounts, investments, and bonds.

So, with all that we are using the Internet, the question of how can we be sure that our details are secure is of great importance to all of us.

Types of Scams

Some of the scams and fraudulent sites are getting more sophisticated and convincing, so it is important to know what you are looking for and stay observant whilst you are browsing. Installing your computer with anti-virus software and firewalls will help to protect against viruses and sites that access your personal information. You do need to be aware that some of these can slow down your computer, so be careful not to install more software than you need.

How To Protect Yourself Online

If you are browsing for financial services, credit cards, or bonds, the site you are reading is likely to be a comparison site, and you should not be asked to provide any card or bank details before you are actually signing up for a product.

Try not to be tempted by unbelievably cheap prices that seem too good to be true – they probably are. Stick to reputable retailers, as these will have reviews and customers comments and the more reviews the site has, the better. Any website that claims to be part of an accreditation scheme or professional body will display the logos for these organizations. Always click through the links to ensure it is a current and valid accreditation and not a less than ethical website pasting a picture of the logo that does not have a link.
One of the hazards of Internet shopping is that the web page address does not give you any indication of where the retailer is based. A genuine retailer will have their physical address listed within the website, as well as contact information and telephone numbers. If you are at all suspicious about a site, you always have the option to telephone or email to make contact with them before you make a purchase. Their response to a simple query in this way may allay your concerns, or indeed confirm your suspicions.
Once you are satisfied that you are dealing with a genuine retailer, you are likely to make a purchase. Always check your summary to ensure that unexpected charges have not been added to your total. Often, prices are quoted without tax or delivery charges to tempt shoppers, but a shock is in store when the total amount payable is displayed.
As you continue with your purchase to the payment page, a genuine and secure connection is indicated by the closed padlock symbol in the browser bar at the top of your page. Before you enter any bank or card details, it is important that you check this. If you do a lot of Internet shopping, you may also want to use a middleman service such as Pay Pal that will ensure the retailer does not have access to any of your personal information.
Using the Internet is so convenient and saves us time and money. By following these simple checks, we can also make sure it is completely secure.

How about you all? How do you protect your identity and personal information online? How cautious are you about sharing personal information? How much do you worry about it being stolen? 

Share your experiences by commenting below!

Jacob’s Thoughts – Listed below are my random thoughts as I was reading this article.

  • This article is on a topic that is becoming increasingly important to all of us these days, as it really is a brave new world out there! 
  • It seems like I get about 2-3 fraudulent emails per day from people pretending to be Amazon or eBay (eBay posers are especially prevalent!). Typically, these emails are wanting you to think they are from the real company so that you go to their fake website and enter your login information, which can then be stolen. It can be very tempting to fall for these scams because the fake recreations of the real websites are generally very good.
    • However, there are several methods that I use to avoid falling in to these traps, as discussed below:
    • 1) I never use links given in emails to log in to the company being referenced. Instead, I simply type in the normal (reliable) address in to the URL field of my browser (example – This ensures that you are going to the authentic website.
    • 2) You can generally also spot a fake website by the hyper link format in the email. If the email was from the actual company, it would be in the format (or something along those lines). On the other hand, scammers are forced to adopt a slightly different hyperlink format. An example of this would be something along the lines of The scammers typically try to hide this slightly different address by using anchor text (the text that shows up as a link in the email) that is seemingly normal, such as “Login to your eBay Account.”
  • I wrote a good reference post back in June of 2010 on this site (How To Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft) detailing several easy steps one can take to protect his/her personal information online and in general life. Two of the most important steps (in my mind) that you can do are 1) use Opt Out Pre-Screen to reduce the amount of junk mail you receive and 2) place a fraud alert on your credit report. Both of these steps are simple, effective, and FREE!

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