Online Security Rules
10 Ways to
Protect Your Computer with Online Security Rules
When surfing online, it's important to take certain steps to protect
your computer and your private and personal information and data. In this article we suggest online security rules
of the road - ten ways to protect your computer.
In 2004, online consumer spending was at a record $65.1 billion. More and
more people are attracted to the ease of online shopping and are spending higher amounts. Unfortunately, the
chances of becoming a victim of Internet fraud are also increasing. The Internet National Fraud Center Watch
reported that the average loss to fraud victims for just the first six months of 2005 was $2,579. This is compared
to the $895 average for all of 2004. Complaints relating to general merchandise purchases (goods never received or
misrepresented) accounted for 30% of Internet fraud complaints, and auction purchases (goods never received or
misrepresented) topped the list at 44%.
With increasing online threats, it's important to follow online security rules
and protect your computer and your personal data from online security
Ten Online Security
While many e-commerce Websites are reputable and have taken the necessary safety
precautions to protect you, it never hurts to always proceed cautiously. If you are making an online purchase
consider these easy steps:
- Use low-limit credit card for online purchases
- Use only one credit card, preferably with a low credit
limit, when making online purchases. Avoid using an ATM or debit card - if your card number gets stolen, you
could end up with an empty account.
- Keep away from unsolicited offers - Be wary of unsolicited offers by online sellers. The Internet National Fraud
Information Center Watch reported that email, as a method of contact by Internet scammers was up 22% in 2004.
While the offer may be legitimate, spammers like to use this tactic to side-step reputable sites that provide
consumer protection for online purchases.
- Deal only with reputable websites - Use only reputable e-commerce websites that list a street address and telephone number
in case you need to contact them directly.
- Only subscribe to opt-in/opt-out websites
reserve the right to sell/give your information to a third party. Check the document to see if they allow an
opportunity to "opt-out" of receiving special offers from third-party vendors or for permission to share your
- Make your online purchases via secure servers
- Check for a lock symbol in the status bar at the bottom of
your Web browser window. Also, do not provide your personal information if the website address doesn’t start
with "https" (a sign that the site is using a secure server).
- Choose only verified sellers - Check to see if the vendor is a verified member of a reputable third party such as the
Better Business Bureau, VeriSign, or Guardian eCommerce. These third-party sites help to ensure online
consumers will be protected when shopping or conducting e-commerce transactions.
- Check that the delivery date posted is reasonable
- If you have not dealt with the vendor on a regular basis,
be wary of any Website that states the shipment will be delayed 20 or more days. Delivery dates of 7-10 days
are more common.
- Keep a paper trail of all online transactions
- Print out a hard copy of the transaction and keep it in a
file for future reference.
- If it's too good to be true, then it probably is
- Be wary of website offers that just sound too good to be
true. The Internet is littered with get rich quick scams and false advertising claims. Investigate all claims
thoroughly before proceeding.
- Report any problems to Consumer Affairs agency
- If you do not receive what you paid for, and the vendor
will not return your emails or calls, contact your state’s Department of Consumer Affairs for further
There are of course more ways and methods for protecting your computer and your
personal data. But the above 10 suggested ways will be a good start and should give you further ideas on how to
take additional steps to protect yourself online.
For more suggestions, see our next, Security