Customer Protection

Typically, customers are unable to control the security of an e-commerce site or deception on the Internet. Here are some guidelines that small-business owners can give to their customers to help them safeguard their personal financial information:

Use a secure browser. Software that encrypts or scrambles the purchase information you send over the Internet to help guard the security of your information as it is being transmitted.

Privacy policy. Check the site?s privacy policy before you provide any personal financial information to a Web site. Most importantly, determine how the information will be shared or used with others.? If you are not comfortable with the site?s privacy policy, seriously consider doing business elsewhere.

Refunds and shipping. Read and understand refund and shipping policies before making purchases at any e-commerce site you visit. Pay special attention to the disclosures on the policies.

Keep it private.? Don?t disclose your personal information unless you know who?s collecting the information, why they are collecting it and how they will use it.

Be stingy. Give payment information only to businesses you know and trust and only when it is appropriate.? Never give your password to anyone online, even to your Internet service provider.? Do not download files sent to you by strangers or click on hyperlinks from people you don?t know.? Opening a file could expose your system to a computer virus or a program that could hijack your modem.

Keep records. Maintain records of your online transactions and check your e-mail for communication from merchants with whom you are doing business. Merchants may send you important information about your purchases.

Review statements. Promptly and thoroughly review your monthly credit-card and bank statements for any errors or unauthorized purchases.? Notify your credit-or debit-card issuer immediately if your credit or debit card or checkbook is lost or stolen, or if you suspect someone is using your account without your permission.

?Sikiru A. Fadairo