Internet Law

Protecting Your Privacy on the Internet Checklist

You'll want to protect the privacy of your personal information while you're online. Here's a checklist of some of the most important things you can do to protect your identity and prevent others from easily getting your personal information:

  • Check a site's privacy policy before you enter any personal information and know how it will be used
  • Make sure you have a secure internet connection, by checking for the unbroken key or closed lock icon in your browser, before you enter any personal information onto a webpage
  • Only give a credit card number when buying something 
  • Register your credit cards with your card provider's online security services, such as Verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode
  • Use just one credit card for online purchases; if possible, use an account with a low spending limit or small available balance
  • Don't use a debit card for your online purchases. Credit cards are better because bank-provided security guarantees apply to credit cards, so an unauthorized charge is limited to $50
  • Don't select the "remember my password" option when registering online
  • Change your passwords every 60 to 90 days and don't use personal information as your password, instead use a string of at least five letters, numbers and punctuation marks
  • Don't store your passwords near your computer or in your purse or wallet
  • Don't give more information than a site requires
  • Keep your anti-virus software up-to-date to reduce the risk of malicious code running on your PC
  • Don't go online unless you have a personal firewall enabled to add a layer of protection to your PC by stopping unknown connections to your PC
  • Don't reply directly to e-mail messages asking for personal information
  • Type web addresses directly into your web browser instead of clicking on e-mail links
  • Get anti-virus and anti-spam filtering software and keep it up to date by using its automatic update feature, if your service provider or employer doesn't provide it for you
  • Check out online retailers' ratings at BizRate and the Better Business Bureau before buying

Questions for Your Attorney

  • Are there laws that limit how personal information collected online can be used?
  • I thought I gave information to my bank online, but now I think it was a scam. What can I do?
  • Is there a limit to how much my debit card can be charged if someone illegally used it to make purchases online?
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