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The only sure way to shop safe on the Internet

Written By: William Milham

After all my years as an Internet Professional, I can’t begin to count the number of phone calls and emails I’ve gotten regarding safe shopping on the Internet. When you really think about it, there’s about the same amount of risk shopping in a regular walk-in store (remember those?) as there is shopping on the Internet. Actually, there’s less risk on the Internet. If you’re robbed in a regular store, you’re life could be in danger. If you pay attention to what you’re buying on the Internet and what type of site you’re on, the worst that will happen is the occasional impulse buy.

Of course, if you’re really concerned about your credit information: Your best defense when it comes to keeping your credit card information safe on the Internet is not to use your credit card on the Internet. However, shopping on the Internet – on secure sites – is perfectly safe and a great way to shop (Granted, the “great” part is only my opinion, but the ease of point and click shopping beats the great googly-moogly out of a crowded mall….).

When you shop on the Internet, remember, your common sense is your best weapon. If a site looks a little goofy in the security department & your gut tells you not to enter in your personal information… DON’T!

You can pretty much always trust established businesses such as amazon.com, macys.com, and the like, to have secure servers for credit card and check transactions. If you’re unsure about the site, you can see if they’re secure or not by looking for the little “secure” icon in your browser. When on a secure page in Internet Explorer, there will be a little padlock icon on the lower right-hand corner of the browser window. Netscape has a similar icon. Secure pages also have the “https://www.domainnamehere.com/secure.htm” distinction in their address as opposed to a non-secure site, which would read “http://www.domainnamehere.com”.

If you’re fairly new to the Internet shopping scene, Windows (WIN’95, ’98 and ME) has an excellent little feature that will tell you exactly what pages are secure and/or not secure on any site.

To access this feature open your browser to any site and on the top toolbar, select “Tools” then “Internet Options”, then “Advanced”. In the “Advanced” section, scroll down until you see the “Security” options.

Once there, go ahead and check the following boxes:

Warn about invalid site certificates
Warn if changing between secure and not secure mode
Warn if forms submittal is being redirected
Once that’s finished, click “Apply” then “OK”

You’re finished. Your computer will now tell you when you’re on a secure page and warn you when you’re on a not secure page.

Still not sure about being secure? Want a step-by-step ILLUSTRATED version of this tutorial? Want lots more FREE computer and Internet tips and tricks? Visit http://www.sunsetinn.net/guardian.htm

About the Author

William Milham is an Internet Professional with more than a decade of experience on the WWW. For more articles and eBooks written by Mr. Milham, please visit www.sunsetinn.net and click on the “Publications” link.

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