Is shopping online safe?

Last week we looked at two Web portals, FatWallet and CouponCabin, which assist in the search for on-line deals. Today we look at a few issues involved with shopping on-line. Buying stuff on-line is becoming a routine activity for many people. We save precious time and money by doing so. A recent Nielsen survey, conducted globally, found that ...over 85 percent of the worlds on-line population has used the Internet to make a purchase. That figure is up 40 percent from two years earlier. The survey also found ...more than half of Internet users are regular on-line shoppers, making on-line purchases at least once a month. See www.nielsen.com/solutions/GlobalOnlineShoppingReportFeb08.pdf for more information. Many people are concerned about compromising financial data especially in the on-line environment. I agree there should be some level of apprehension because hardly anything works perfectly all the time. Remember a few weeks ago when we talked about the wireless systems that were virtually security-less as well? People who made purchases in the brick-and-mortar stores affected found that, in the end, paying with a credit or debit card in one of those stores was ultimately less-safe than buying through a secure on-line retailer. Personally, I have never had a problem with an on-line vendor who operated through a secure Web page. How do we know if the page is secure? Look for at least two things: the lock icon and the letters https instead of http in the URL (address) of the site. For further information on how to determine if the page is secure, visit the following wiki: online.lovetoknow.com/wiki/Secure_Online_Shopping_Tips. Ron Poland is a professor in the Computer Information Systems AAS program at Clinton Community College. Poland is certified in company repair and networking by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). He is also a Cisco certified network assistant. Questions may be sent to him via e-mail at ron@ronpoland.com.

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