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Online Shopping Tips

We all know that shopping your hometown is good for the local economy, however, there are times when you may need to shop online. Protect your personal information when shopping online and reduce the chance of fraud with these online shopping tips, courtesy of the Independent Community Bankers of America:

  1. Make sure your computer and browser are secure. Set your firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware software to automatically update and scan your PC.
  2. Choose secure passwords unique to each shopping site. Create unique passwords using a variety of lower and uppercase letters, numbers and symbols.
  3. Don’t give personal information over the phone, through the mail or on the Internet unless you know who you’re dealing with and preferably only if you’ve initiated the contact. Never give out Social Security or driver’s license numbers. If you must share personal information, confirm that you are dealing with a legitimate organization.
  4. If you receive an e-mail asking for personal information, do not hit the reply button or click on any link in the e-mail. Instead, go directly to the sender’s Web site by typing in its Web-site address.
  5. Look for secure sites with an “s” in the URL (https://) and a closed-padlock icon on the Web page.
  6. Always double-check the URL to be sure you are shopping with the company you intended to shop with. A simple typo can help identity thieves.
  7. Never respond to an offer by way of a spam or bulk e-mail. If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
  8. Consumer protections in the federal Fair Credit Billing Act apply to online credit-card purchases. Keep records of all your purchases in case there’s a problem.
  9. Avoid providing unnecessary information such as annual income, spending habits, hobbies and lifestyle data.
  10. Shop with U.S.-based companies. Domestic state and federal consumer-protection laws apply. You’ll be protected and have recourse should something go awry.
  11. Consider registering MasterCard® Secure Code when shopping online.
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