Electronic commerce (e-commerce) has made the marketplace more convenient. It is easy to conduct business from any location; and it is easy to store your personal information with the e-business or on your computer to keep from having to remember yet another identification code. But along with the advantages of conducting business online has come a marked increase in identity theft. Even if the seller has a secure Web site, any information that you provide could be vulnerable to hackers.
Here are some suggestions for doing business on the Internet more safely:
- Look for sites that begin with "https" instead of "http." The "s" stands for "secure."
- Do not provide confidential information in response to an e-mail; and make sure the Web site with whom you are dealing is who they say they are. The more popular electronic scams, called phishing ("fishing") or pharming ("farming"), involve opportunists masquerading as reputable companies and soliciting your financial information. For more details visit this antiphishing site.
- Do not allow a Web site to store your credit card information for your later use.
- Whether at home or on a public-use computer, be sure to log out of a Web site so the next person to use the computer cannot access your information. If you share your computer with someone else, do not have your computer remember any passwords.