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PROVEN DANGERS OF ON~LINE SHOPPING ... What everyone should know...

In this day and age of ... would do everyone well to take heed and be aware that fraud can, and ... does, happen via the use of the ... And the truth of the matter is, we are in dan

In this day and age of would do everyone well to take heed and be aware that fraud can, and sometimes does, happen via the use of the Internet.

And the truth of the matter is, we are in danger of fraudulent actions being taken against us in many other areas of our daily lives, as well. We live in an age of dishonest actions. No one is really exempt, even if they never use the Internet. It can happen while standing at an ATM or even in the grocery line.

Twenty years ago, a friend of mine began receiving phone calls at home from a complete stranger who apparently had read the information off of a check she was writing out for the cashier at the grocery store.

It is possible for others to go through our garbage - if they are intent on finding information of a personal nature. The fact is, we are unprotected on many fronts when it comes to personal information. If someone is bent on committing ‘information theft ‘ against us, they can find a way to do it without much effort.

The Internet is a safe place - when used wisely.

Shopping on the Internet is long as it is given the same consideration as one would use whenever giving out personal information anywhere. There are simple guidelines given us for using an ATM machine, for using Traveler's Checks, and even for using cash. Those same types of guidelines work well for most places we shop.

For example:

• "When using cash - don't flash". Flashing your wad of bills around for others to see is just plain foolish. Keeping your cash in your front shirt or pants pocket is much safer than in your wallet in a back pocket - or in a purse that can be easily snatched from your grip.

• "When using checks - check". Be aware of who is standing around you, and how closely they are positioned to you. Don't offer your information ‘out loud'... if the cashier needs your driver's license number, for instance, write it out or show your license to them, only. Be as prepared as possible ahead of time so that less time and less information is required of you during the check out process.

• "Your Social Security number should be secure". No one can demand your social security number for the purposes of selling you something. It is not lawful. Giving your S.S. number out too freely can be more risky than you realize. Guard it.

These same types of guidelines work well for shopping online, too. If you have to give out more information than you are comfortable with giving...don't. You don't need the service or product being offered badly enough to put yourself at unnecessary risk. Reputable ‘Online Shopkeepers' use only trusted sources, such as PayPal and VeriSign, to collect your information...thus showing their genuine concern for your shopping safety...and they display these logos on their website as reassurance to their customers.

There is one - unavoidable - danger.

Although measures have been taken by reputable online businesses to help safeguard your shopping experience, there is one danger that yet remains. You may enjoy shopping from the comfort of your own home or office - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - so much that you become " a regular on-line shopper ".

Yes, there is a danger that this may happen to you...and so far as I know there is no known cure, either. It is simply too easy to not put yourself at the mercy of the Mall nice to not have to wait in not have to be presentable in appearance and to be able to find and purchase what we want before we have even finished that cup of coffee. It can be after everyone else is in bed for the night...or before anyone else has even awakened for the day... And it is always at our convenience!

But those shipping and handling charges....

Today, most reputable online businesses work hard to keep shipping and handling costs down. Remember, they are at the mercy of the shipping and handling rates being charged them by the carriers. But when you shop also have the benefit of comparison shopping at your fingertips. When you are in a single store somewhere, you pay whatever price they are can't run from store to store to store to compare and save a buck or two. With online shopping you can!

I know what it can cost me to drive here and there to find something - only to find that the next week it's on sale ! Because of gas will always cost me several dollars to drive and I will pay that - even if I am unable to find what I am looking for. When you add it all up - shipping and handling affords you the luxuries and minimizes the frustrations of shopping.

Of course there will still be times when you prefer to drive - walk - search - stand in line - be treated indifferently - and spend more than you wanted to spend...but when you want to enjoy shopping at your convenience with the ability to instantly compare prices in the comfort of your own space - there is always "online shopping" - just be carefulFree Web Content, it can be dangerously satisfying!

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C.L. Hanna is the C.E.O. of HEART'S DOOR which specializes in the use of vintage and collectble items in home decorating. After over 20 years of collecting and interior decorating she recently took her shop online at

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