Personal and Credit Information

  • Keep your personal information private.
  • Be especially careful about online communications with someone who conceals his true identity.
  • Use a secure browser.
  • Use inexpensive filtering software to filter programs to protect your family from inappropriate sites.
  • Pay your bills online with credit card instead of using personal checks.
  • Review your telephone bill and other bills and challenge any charges that you don’t recognize.

Conducting Business Online

  • Beware of offers that sound too good to be true.
  • Watch out for “advance fee” demands.
  • Take your time in making investment decisions, researching the potential investment opportunity thoroughly.
  • Have an attorney or accountant look at any proposed contracts.
  • Call every supplier or customer of the company and verify that they really do business with the company.
  • Check out the people running the company.
  • Contact your local consumer protection agency and the consumer protection agency in the city where the company is headquartered for more information about the company.
  • Interview business references in person at the place of business if possible and try and get a number of names to choose from. This will help you avoid talking with people who were paid to give favorable responses.
  • Get earnings claims in writing when considering Internet-related business opportunities.
  • Get references on any travel companies and get details about the trip in writing, including the cancellation policy.
  • Consult with health-care professionals before buying any “cure-all” that claims to cure an ailment quickly or offers easy solutions to a serious illness.

Shopping Online

  • Keep your password(s) private.
  • Don’t judge item by initial appearances posted online.
  • Check out the seller, especially when shopping online auction sites.
  • Shop with companies that you know or at least know who you are dealing with; make sure that the company is legitimate.
  • Get all the details involved before making an Internet transaction, such as complete descriptions, total price, return policy, etc.
  • Ask your credit card issuer about “substitute” or “single-use” credit card numbers that allow you to use your credit card without putting your real account number online.
  • Only share credit card information when buying from a company that you trust.
  • Pay by credit or charge card online, because you have a legal right to dispute charges for goods and services that were never ordered or received.
  • Keep a record for proof of the transaction.

Department of Public Safety
125 South Main St.
Middlebury, VT 05753