Protecting your privacy is harder when shopping online because you're asked to fork over sensitive data. Here's what Jay Foley at the Identity Theft Resource Centre suggests to minimize exposure:
Change your identity. Create a new email address exclusively for online stores that require one. This dummy address will wind up receiving future junk emails. Then each week, trash all the spam from your "shopping" address.
Look for the lock. Before filling out any on-screen form asking for credit card data, verify that you're at a secure Web page. The URL in the field at the top of your screen should begin with "https://" and look for a locked padlock icon in the lower-left corner of the screen.
Send spies packing. If you download free software, "spyware" may have been secretly attached by a third party to monitor your surfing habits. Spychecker.com offers free software that detects and removes spyware from your hard drive.
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