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Police: Tips to Shopping Safely Online

Convenience, good deals and choices are all good things that the internet offers. But before you use it, be cyber smart and make your online experience a safe one.


You just found a perfect antique lamp at an online auction site. You send off the check to the seller (use a credit card – its more secure), but you never receive the
merchandise. You decide to begin purchasing your medicine online. Is it safe to do so?

The internet is an exciting tool that put a vast amount of information at your fingertips. With the click of a mouse, you can buy the latest bestselling book, make vacation arrangements or purchase a gift for your spouse.

Convenience, good deals and choices are all good things that the internet offers.  But before you use it, be cyber smart and make your online experience a safe one.

Shop with companies you know

  • Anyone can set up an online shop under almost any name. If you are not familiar with merchant, ask for a paper catalog to get a better idea of the merchandise and services. Also be sure to determine a company’s return and refund policy. Check with the Better Business Bureau.

Keep your password private

  • Never give you’re your passwords to anyone.  Avoid using a birthday or a portion of your Social Security number. If possible, use combinations of numbers and letters.

Use a secure browser                            

  • This is the software you use to navigate the internet. Your browser should comply with industry security standards meaning when purchasing anything online, your information is encrypted. Look for the https (s meaning secure) in the address of your browser.  Also, look in the browser for a padlock
    symbol.

Pay by credit card

  • If you pay by credit card, your transaction will be protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act.  Under this law, you have the right to dispute charges under certain circumstances and temporarily withhold payment while the creditor investigates them.

Kee personal information private

  • Do not give out your Social Security number, email address, telephone number or address unless you know who is collecting the information, why it is being collected and how it will be used.

Save all transaction information

  • Including emails and records of any phone conversations.

This and more information about online safety can be found at the National Crime Prevention Council website; www.ncpc.org.

Officer Larry Jacobs is the Crime Prevention Officer for the Sandy Springs Police Department. He can be reached at ljacobs@sandyspringsga.gov.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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