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Q: My son has been asking for my credit card number so he can make online purchases. I’m a little weary of this. How do I know if the site is secured enough to protect my information?
A: When shopping online, buy from known retailers. Places like Sears.com, Walmart.com, Amazon.com, and other well-known retailers are generally very secure. If you have never heard of the site before, your risks go up. It is better to stick with companies you or your friends have personally bought from before, if possible. Also, avoid giving out your credit card number in an email, since email is not very secure. If you have the option, give your number over the phone instead (and only if you initiated the call), or on a secure website.
If you are using a shared computer, make sure to log out of any accounts that store your credit card number after use. Make sure the log in information is not saved. Better yet, only enter your credit card number from your personal computer. Sometimes the auto complete feature of your browser may remember what you type into certain fields, and the next person to use the computer can see what you have typed in.
If you already gave your number out and are worried, keep an eye on your credit card statements. If anything looks wrong, call your credit card company immediately. Most companies will reimburse you if your card is stolen or used without your knowledge. Don’t wait too long, or you may become responsible for the charges.