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Shop Safely on the Internet

Reader rating: 6 out of 10



Introduction

The Internet is a powerful and very useful tool for shopping. You can browse products at the click of a mouse.

Online shopping requires a bit of knowledge, and a bit of common sense.

This How-To Article is a guide to help you know how online shopping works, the risks involved, as well as how to stay safe shopping online.


Shop Safely on the Internet

How does it work?

Online Stores are made up of basically two parts: the front-end (what you see as you shop), and the back-end (the database, and systems which run the store).

While you're shopping online, you find items you want, and then add them to your "virtual" shopping cart. The shopping cart may also suggest other items you may want purchase with the item. You can add or remove items as you want. The shopping cart can usually be saved. You can add some items one day, and complete your shopping the next.

Once you are sure you want to purchase all of the items in your cart, you proceed to "check-out". This part of the system will typically confirm that you want all of the items, and may even let you know if they are currently in stock. You will then need to enter your personal information including your name, address, credit card number, etc. You will also be able to select the shipping method you would like to use.

Once you finish entering this information, it' submitted to the store's "back-end", is processed, and then shipped.

How can I be sure that my information is safe?

-Be sure that you are shopping at a store you can trust.

-Above all things, be sure that their order page is using a secure server. You can find this out by checking what protocol the page using. Go to the page which has the form to enter your name, credit card number, and other information. Look at the address in the "Location" or "Address" bar. If the address starts with "https://", then it is a secure server. If it is just "http://", then it is not secure, and you should not shop at the store.

-Don't enter information that is not needed. Try to enter as little information as required in the order form. Order forms usually star (*) required fields. If it's not needed and you don't want to provide it, don't enter it.

-Never store information such as credit card numbers on your computer. Computers are not secure, and anything on your computer has the possibility of being accessed while you are on the Internet.

-Log out of any online Internet accounts which store your credit card information. Be sure to choose difficult passwords for these types of accounts.

How safe is it?

Shopping online can be very safe, but it is only as safe as you make it. Following the tips above greatly increase your safety while shopping online, but the online store also must take security measures.

Be sure to follow the tips above, and use some common sense while shopping.

Online shopping makes shopping easy, fast, and fun. The future of shopping is online, and protecting your personal information is the first step to making it a reality.

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