Monday, June 18, 2007

STOP! Before You Request An Online Quote...

When shopping online, it is imperative for the safety of you and your family that you only give out personal information to companies of good repute. Just because a company has a professional looking website does not make them honest.

Some possible concerns include the following:

The owner of the website may not even be based in the US. Should you run into problems and want to take legal action, it will be hard enough to find a fictitious American company, much less one in another country.

The website may purport to have a worthy intention for requesting your information (like offering you good rates on health insurance) but it is possible that all they are really interested in is your personal information. Identity theft online happens all the time. Don’t let it happen to you.

Identity theft is not the only option for online information thieves. Re-selling personal information is a big business. Telemarketers and direct mail and email marketing firms are always purchasing personal information for advertising purposes. Save yourself a ton of junk mail and annoying phone calls by making sure that you are dealing with a reputable company.

To make sure that none of the above happens to you, there are steps you can take to protect yourself.

  • Verify that the company who owns the website is based in the US by checking the URL registration at Network Solutions online at:

  • Before giving your social security number, credit card, or sensitive information, hesitate. Ask yourself what it is that they need the information for, especially if they don’t explain.

  • Choose companies that list “BBBOnline” or “Trust-e” on the bottom corner of the web page.

  • Before you sign on, make sure you can sign off. That is, make sure that you are offered a way to take your name off any lists and avoid solicitations should you change your mind about your purchase.

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