Do you feel safe submitting your personal info online? Here are some tips on online forms which can help you stay out of trouble.
Deciding who to trust
Here are few tips on how to recognize a safe place that you can trust with your information:
- - Make sure you know what company is operating the website and whether it is legitimate.
- - Look for signs that indicate the site has been reviewed by independent site verification program like AVG LinkScanner®.
- - Before you hit the Submit button when you’ve entered personal information on a website, make sure the padlock symbol is visible in your browser status bar – this means the site is secure and using encrypted (https) communication to prevent interception and misuse of your data
Deciding who not to trust
On the other hand, any of the following are indications you should be very careful about providing any information to the site:
- - Your security software or web browser shows the page is dangerous
- - You accessed the web page through a link in an e-mail message from someone or some company you don’t know
- - You accessed the web page through a link from a company you know but which contains text that tries to scare you into providing important private information like passwords
- - Your web browser warns you about certificate issues (not signed by a valid authority, a certificate meant for other URL address, expired, etc.) when you go to a web page
- - You should always check that the URL in your browser status bar is correct for the company you believe you are visiting on the web. In particular, look out for these warning signs:
- - The domain name is different from the company name or its area of activities
- - The domain name contains characters that can be easily mistaken for other characters (e.g. using a capital ‘i’ in place of a small ‘L’)
- - The top-level domain name contains an unexpected country code – for example, you believe you are visiting a site in Australia, but the domain is cn (China) instead of au for Australia
Deciding what kind of information it’s safe to provide
We noted earlier that information can have different levels of importance or privacy. Regardless of information privacy level, you should always carefully decide if you really want to give your data to a particular website and also if they really need this kind of information.
If you’re ever in doubt about the validity of a web page or what information you should provide, always err on the side of caution. Better safe than sorry.
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