online. To take advantage of many online services, you will
inevitably have to provide personal information in order to
handle billing and shipping of purchased goods. Since not
divulging any personal information is rarely possible, the
following list contains some advice for how to share
personal information safely online:
• Keep an eye out for phony email messages. Things that
indicate a message may be fraudulent are misspellings,
poor grammar, odd phrasing, web site addresses with
strange extensions, web site addresses that are entirely
numbers where there are normally words, and anything
else out of the ordinary. Additionally, phishing messages
will often tell you that you have to act quickly to keep your
account open, update your security, or urge you to provide
information immediately or else something bad will happen.
Don't take the bait.
• Do not click on a link in an email, unless you specifically
asked for the email to be sent to you. If you get an email
asking you to click on a link to perform an action, such as
resetting your password, and you didn't ask to reset your
password, type the website address into your browser by
• Don't respond to email messages that ask for personal
information. Legitimate companies will not use email
messages to ask for your personal information. When in
doubt, contact the company by phone or by typing in the
company web address into your web browser. Don't click
on the links in these messages as they make take you to
fraudulent, malicious web sites.
• Steer clear of fraudulent web sites used to steal personal
information. When visiting a web site, type the address
(URL) directly into the web browser rather than following a
link within an email or instant message. Fraudsters often
forge these links to make them look convincing.
A shopping, banking or any other web site where sensitive
information should have an "S" after the letters "http" (i.e.
https://www.yourbank.com not http://www.yourbank.com).
The "s" stands for secure and should appear when you are
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