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When paying on the web, verify first (sponsored)

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Imagine sharing your credit card number with a half-dozen online stores ? big retailers, trendy boutiques, and a dog-toy company that seems nice enough.

Trust that your account information is in good hands all around, because thieves can’t create attractive websites, right?

That might work. But it might not. Thieves can make attractive websites. They also can send you email and snoop on your online transactions to steal your data.

Before you hit “check out” on a website, check out who you’re dealing with. Treat your credit card information like an embarrassing secret, providing it to trustworthy parties only ? and taking steps to help ensure it’s not intercepted.

Before giving credit card information to an online store:

  • Search the site for a real phone number and address.
  • Read the retailer’s privacy policy. It should tell you what information the site wants to collect and how it plans to use it.
  • Look for reviews and ratings of the site and its products. Start with the Better Business Bureau. Then search the web with the site’s name and the word “review” or “complaint.”
  • Don’t be tricked by unearned “trust seals.” Anyone could copy and paste a logo onto their site.

To read more safety tips for online shopping, go to stcumoney.org.

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