LSU AgCenter agent addresses safe shopping online

Mary Ann Van Osdell, Hatch, Dora Ann  |  4/1/2009 9:57:47 PM

News Release Distributed 04/01/09

When you go on a Web site, you need to be a detective and do a background check before shopping.

That was the message of Dora Ann Hatch, LSU AgCenter community rural development agent, who presented “Tips and Safety for Shopping Online” at the LSU AgCenter Lunch and Ag Discovery event recently in Bossier City.

The Web site should give point-of-contact information that includes the name of the business and its physical address and phone number, Hatch said. “That is important if you have a problem.”

When asking for credit card information, the screen address should begin with https. Note the “s,” Hatch said. “If you don’t see the ‘s’ there, do not order.”

That means it’s a secure line, and consumers should only transact business on a secure line directly connected to the Internet, Hatch added.

Choose your password carefully, Hatch said. “Use an unpredictable combination of numbers, letters and symbols, and don’t share your password with others.”

Never use your Social Security number as a password, she added.

Hatch suggested dedicating only one credit card for online transactions. “In case something happens, you can cancel that credit card,” she said.

Never use a debit card, Hatch advised. “That is a direct line to your bank account.”

Check your credit card and bank statements for suspicious activity, Hatch said. “You may have a charge you didn’t initiate.”

Print a copy of your order and the confirmation number, Hatch said.

She said it is important to maintain antivirus software and to read privacy policies. “Check ‘no’ when asked to share your information,” she said.

 

Mary Ann Van Osdell 

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