You long ago figured out how to beat the crowds and bumper-car parking lots by shopping online. Now you need to make sure you -- and your identity -- stay safe online. In the hustle and bustle of clicking the "buy now" button, you run a higher risk of identity theft. According to the Identity Fraud Survey Report conducted by Javelin Strategy & Research, 40 percent of all identity theft victims had their information misused while making an online purchase, compared to 13 percent for purchases made over the phone or through the mail. That doesn't mean online shopping isn't safe. It just means you need to be smart.
Top 5 ways to protect your identity while shopping online:
1. Protect your passwords
Never reveal your passwords to anyone--even your family and friends. It's sad but true that many cases of ID theft involve those closest to you.
2. Make sure your antivirus program is up-to-date
A current antivirus program, such as McAfee, will automatically update your PC against new threats.
3. Only shop on secure sites
You can tell if a site is secure if you see a closed padlock on the browser's status bar. In addition, the website's URL should change to "s-http" or "https" when you are asked to provide payment information.
4. Don't click the link
If you receive an e-mail advertising a great sale, don't click on the link in the e-mail unless you know and trust the retailer. Instead, type the URL and check the site for authenticity and credibility. Malicious links sent in e-mail are the No. 1 way for cyber crooks to insert Trojans and viruses on computers, including the kind that can steal your personal information--and you'll never even know it until it's too late.
5. Pay by credit card, not debit card
All credit cards come with specific consumer protection that is far superior to checking account debit cards. In addition, frequently monitor online your credit card and banking accounts to make sure only the items you have charged or purchased are listed.
Bob White's wife recently told him to choose between her and his Harley. The Charles City, Virginia man posted this ad on Craigslist:
WIFE SAYS; "HARLEY GOES OR I GO". . .YOUR CHOICE - $5900
WILL CONSIDER BEST OFFER OR TRADES FOR ???
Sportster: 2006 XL1200L Sportster in excellent condition
Wife: 1959 model year in excellent condition, considering
Sportster: Only 6,500 miles (less than 900 miles per year!)
Wife: High Mileage
Sportster: Well maintained. . .and it shows--see the pictures
Wife: High maintenance--and it shows--see the pictures
Sportster: Fresh oil change and filter (didn't need it)
Wife: Oil never changed-- but is checked regularly
Sportster: Gently ridden--never ridden in the rain--stored in climate controlled garage
Wife: Rode hard, put up wet
Sportster: Comes with $2500 in S&S power options (Vance and Hines drag pipes, carb and tuning, air cleaner, K&N intake filter) "a substantial power increase over stock"
Wife: Has too much power period
Sportster: Great for beginners or seasoned riders alike
Wife: This is the expert's only model
Sportster: Comes with 1-2 hour beginner's riding lesson (call for details)
Wife: No lessons needed and NO instruction manual
Sportster: Beautiful bike. . .pearl white with black and orange accent strips
Wife: Beautiful edition...white with a mean streak
Sportster: Come out and test ride before you buy
Wife: Don't even go there
Used street bikes, dirt bikes, and ATVs for sale
Pickup and Delivery service available