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Fraud Stuff/Anti Online Stuff 

    Checking the browser N the URL

    • Before you decide to transmit you credit card no. stuff - make sure the target is correct N not a bogus one! eg www.yahoo.com is different from www.yahoos.com.

    • Look at the HTML source code - make sure the posting method is POST, instead of insecure GET.

      eg: <FORM method=POST action=valid.host/order.cgi .... >
      and not <FORM method=GET action=bogus.host/order.cgi ....>

      where order.cgi is the transaction program.

    • Use a browser with strong SSL key. You can check your browser SSL Encryption strength at http://www.fortify.net/sslcheck.html.

    Some Safe Shopping Guide

    • Know who you are dealing with.

      Large vendors have reputations to uphold, and have proven in the past to be responsive to customer's needs. If not, the negative publicity is usually comes fast and furious, which can cripple sales. You should verify is such vendors are OK. Maybe a google search may help (search for bogus e-commerce vendors, top or best e-commerce etc).

    • Consider recommendations.

      But, what if the product you need isn't available at a well-known retailer's site? Say you need some specialty coffee from a small vendor a coworker recommended. How would you know if the vendor was on the level? Don't Panic! A number of sites have been created to deal with this very issue. Sites such as BizRate bizrate.com indexes merchants by product or service they provide and rates their performance based on feedback from - in some cases - thousands of customers. An added bonus - if you become a BizRate member, you can get discounts on products ordered on line.

    • Pay the safest way.

      Be wary if a merchant requires up front payment by check or money order before shipping your purchase. A credit card offers the most consumer protection for purchases made over the Internet. Besides, by federal law, if your credit card number is stolen, you are only responsible for the first $50 of purchases made. In some cases, reputable Internet merchants will reimburse your $50 if your credit card number was stolen from their server.

    • Order only on a secure server (SSL).

      Programmers have worked diligently to protect information being sent over the Internet. One of the methods they have come up with is called secure encryption, which scrambles the information so no one else but the vendor can decode it. You'll know your transaction is secure when you see a complete key icon in the lower left hand corner of your Netscape Navigator screen OR a lock icon in the lower right hand corner of your Internet Explorer screen AND the prefix https: replaces http: in your address window. Buy only from web vendors who protect your information when you order online!

    • How much to get from here to there?

      Shipping and handling costs can add up, especially if you are purchasing a large or heavy item. Be sure to check for exact costs, and don't forget to factor these into the total price of the order. Choose the delivery option which best meets your needs. There's no need for overnight shipping if you are able to wait for delivery of the product.

    • Track your purchases.

      Typically, after you order a product over the Internet, the vendor will assign your order a receipt number and details of the purchase. Most vendors will also automatically send an e-mail to your account verifying the information as well. It's a wise idea to keep printouts of these details, including a copy of the return policies, if you are not completely satisfied.


    Can Consumers Fight Back Against Credit Fraud?

    In this age of information, credit fraud is not a difficult crime to perpetrate. The idea that a thief could gain access to your account information or personal data is not as implausible as you might think--social security number misuse has increased over the last two years, resulting in a variety of credit-related crimes.

    Fortunately, you can fight back against credit fraud by learning how credit fraud and identity theft occur, and by actively monitoring your credit report for unauthorized account use on a regular basis. Your credit report will list any new activity on accounts you haven't been using, as well as new accounts that you did not open.

    One of the best ways to keep track of new information that is added to your credit report is the CreditCheck Monitoring Service, which provides Online Monthly Monitoring Alerts to inform you of new derogatory information, recent inquiries into your credit, and several indicators of possible credit fraud.

    If you would like to sign up for the CreditCheck Monitoring Service, Click the banner below. You will get a free copy of your credit report when you sign up for a free 30-day trial.

    Creditcheck

    To have credit report information at your fingertips is the best way to shut an identity thief down--you can begin the process of notifying your creditors of the fraud, changing your passwords, and closing down fraudulent accounts before they wind up in the hands of collectors and compromise your good credit.

    How Credit Fraud and Identity Theft Occur

    Specific personal data, such as your Social Security number, home address and mother's maiden name, can be all a thief needs to obtain a fraudulent driver's license, take over existing bank or credit accounts, divert card statements to a different address, or even apply for new credit card accounts under your name. Thieves can obtain this information in variety of ways, including fishing through trash for account statements, lifting cards from lost or stolen purses, wallets and briefcases, or through telephone or Internet scams.

    How to Prevent Credit Fraud and Identity Theft

    Customers may be in a position to prevent potential identity theft by closely guarding their personal data. For example, never give out your Social Security number over the phone unless you know the company you are dealing with and have initiated the call.

    Similarly, if your mother's maiden name is not likely to be a secure password, consider changing it to something a little more difficult for a thief to obtain. Also, carry only the cards you are actually going to use, and leave official documents like Social Security cards, passports and birth certificates at home or in a safety deposit box.

    Account Takeover Fraud

    Credit card account statements contain a lot of sensitive information that you don't want thieves to get a hold of, and even store receipts will frequently have your credit card number printed on them. Sometimes an account number is all a thief needs to make charges and obtain cash advances. It's a good idea to shred all financial documents before discarding them.

    A thief in possession of sensitive information about you may also be able to go one step further, and commit account takeover fraud, simply by calling your creditor, reading off your account number, a partial Social Security number and your mother's maiden name, and asking them to change the mailing address on the account. For this reason, if you don't receive a credit card statement on time, you should call your creditor immediately to verify that the address has not been changed.

    Checking your credit report may also reveal activity on an account you don't use--get a free copy of your credit report to see your currently open accounts, and stay on top of the situation with the CreditCheck Monitoring Service.

    Pre-Approved Credit Offers

    Another source of potential credit fraud is pre-approved credit offers. A thief who intercepts one may fill out the application and change the address to obtain a credit card in your name for which you will never receive a statement. (To combat this, some creditors will not issue a card to a new address on a pre-approved offer certificate, but this policy isn't universal.) This makes checking your credit report especially important, because it will show you if there are accounts being reported in your name of which you are not aware.

    The thief may even make the minimum payments for a while, until such time as the card is maxed out. Then the account would eventually be turned over for collections--in your name, and listed on your credit report.

    The CreditCheck Monitoring Service Can Help

    In many cases, the only way you'll catch credit fraud early is by obtaining a copy of your credit report. However, most consumers may not have time to order a copy of their credit report on a month-by-month basis, and read through all the information looking for the items that may indicate possible credit fraud.

    The CreditCheck Monitoring Service is ideal for consumers who want to keep current on their credit information. At roughly half the cost of ordering your credit report every month, the CreditCheck Monitoring Service provides Online Monthly Monitoring Alerts that show you only recent changes for easy reference. In addition, you can obtain unlimited free copies of your credit report at any time during your paid membership!


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