Online Shopping Safety-Identity Theft Prevention Tips

There is no secret I love buying books online and all the deals I get.  Some people shop for pretty much everything online.

Just like with any online activity, you have to be extremely cautious.  If not careful, you may fall into the fraudsters’ trap and have your information stolen.

So here are just a few quick tips for safe online shopping:

  • Shop online with companies you know and trust.
  • Research online retailers you have never done business with.  Call them and talk to them.  Ask as many questions as you want.
  • Read Terms of Use, Privacy Policies, Information Sharing Policies, Return and Refund Policies to prevent any unexpected surprises.
  • Shop on websites that use encryption technology.  Look for https, VeriSign seal and/or closed padlock in the top left corner.  However, even then you have to be very careful.  The scammers sometimes use someone else’s digital certificates.  If you see VeriSign seal or a padlock, click on it and see where it takes you.  Usually, you will see a pop-up window, which shows a digital certificate, which is issued to a certain company.  This digital certificate means nothing if you do not verify the information in it.  Below, is an example of the digital certificate.

As you can see, this certificate was issued to for a certain period of time and will have to be renewed.  If you see this certificate on a website other than, most likely, it was stolen.  Pay attention to details like that and you may be able to avoid a lot of headaches.

  • Use your credit card instead of you debit card.  Per The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA), your liability for fraudulent transactions on your credit card is $50.00 if reported within 60 days.  Some banks wave the $50.00 fee.   If you use your debit card and it is stolen, you may be held liable for the portion of the loss, your bank account may be overdrawn and you might be stuck with all kinds of fees.  It may take a while to resolve everything.  Per Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFT Act) If you report fraudulent charges within 2 days, your liability will be $50.00 or less.  Your liability will be up to $500.00 if fraud is reported within 3 to 60 days; and you have unlimited liability if fraud is reported after 60 days.
  • Consider using “Virtual Account Numbers”.  Some banks offer these temporary account numbers randomly generated to be used for online shopping or for mail orders.  You can even decide what balance this Virtual Account Numbers should have.
  • Use store bought pre-paid cards.
  • Make sure you get an email confirmation for your purchases.
  • Never give more information than required.  Online merchants do not need your Social Security Numbers, PINs, etc.
  • Consider using online payment service, such as
  • Always make sure you use the latest web browser and your operating system is updated on regular basis.
  • And, of course, make sure that your computer is malware free.

Would you like to add more to the list of these few tips?  Make sure to do so in the comment section.

Now, have you ever had your information stolen after you purchased something online?  Leave a comment.

About the Author

Lana is a real life Identity Theft Victim. Identity Theft Manifesto is a result of her own struggles to clear her credit, her name and reputation. She is on the mission to research, learn more and educate her readers about ID Theft Crime.