Tips: Shopping Safely Online

You can buy almost anything online. But not every Web site is a safe place to shop. Protect your credit card and identity by shopping on secure sites. offers tips for shopping safely.

Here’s how to tell if a site is secure:

  • Look for the lock symbol next to the url or in the lower-right corner.
  • Make sure the Web address begins with “https” rather than just “http.” The “s” stands for secure.
  • Do a background check. Look for a physical address (not a P.O. box), request a catalog by mail, or call and talk to a company representative.
  • Look for third party seal of approval. Look for either the Better Business Bureau Online logo or the Trust-e logo. Web sites can only use these seals on their site if they follow the standards set by these companies. If you do see these seals, click on them to be sure they go to that Web site.
  • Read the privacy policy and “terms and conditions.” Make sure the site has a policy that says they do not disclose your personal information to third parties.
  • Find out what other users have to say. If there are no user comments on the site, check Epinions or Bizrate.
  • Review the site’s shipping methods and policies. Be sure the site uses safe carriers with fair shipping rates. You may want to avoid sites that ship from international locations.
  • Trust your instincts. If you get a bad vibe about the site, shop at another one.

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