Protecting yourself when shopping online

  • Internet commerce is no more prone to fraud than other types of payment mechanisms. But regardless of the transaction medium, take precautions.
  • Know who you're dealing with.
  • When you visit a company's Web site, look for it's privacy policy. Find out what type of information the compagny gathers, how it is used, and who it's shared with.
  • Check if the site has an "opt-out" policy that allows you to prevent further solicitation and the sharing of your personal information with third parties.
  • Be familiar with the encryption levels of your Internet browser software and what it means to your privacy.
  • Be sure that you're in a secure environment. Before entering credit card or other sensitive data, look for the closed-lock or unbroken-key icons on-screen. If you don't see the unbroken-key or closed padlock, or if you see a broken key or open padlock, your transaction data will not be securely transmitted over the Internet. Unsecured transaction data can be intercepted by potentially malicious third-parties.
  • Clear your browser cache after visiting a secure site. This will delete any data held in the cache making it unavailable to other Web sites and applications.
  • Use common sense and be aware of potential security leaks. You wouldn't give information to just anyone in the offline world. Apply the same discretion online.
  • To help determine whether the Web site and its products are credible, look for a seal of approval from a reputable organization. For example, the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants have developed CAWebTrust. The logo appears on Web sites to show buyers that an accountant has examined the operator's business practices, the integrity of its transactions and the methods it uses to protect your personal information.
  • If you have children, instruct them never to give out their name or other personal information online without your permission.


(Source: ©2001 Canadian Bankers Association )