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Blanco County Public Records
Tips for Consumers
Wednesday, September 26, 2007 • Posted September 25, 2007 10:00 PM

• Looks are only skin-deep: Don't confuse glitz with legitimacy. It costs very little to set up a Web site that looks expensive.

• Businesses are not police officers: Don't assume internet service providers police their bulletin boards and chat rooms for scams.

• Don't talk to strangers: Don't volunteer your name, phone number, real user ID, or computer address - this may get you onto a list that is shared by con artists.

• Don't give your password out to anyone for any reason. Also, stress the importance of this to children in your family who use the Internet.

• Don't assume that all Web sites have the same level of security.

• Never give out credit card or financial information to anyone who approached you through an unsolicited e-mail (also known as junk e-mail). If you are required to give out bank account information when responding to a legitimate offer, do so by U.S. mail, not by e-mail. And be very cautious: scam artists often use junk e-mail to lure consumers into scams or to get access to credit card numbers.

• Keep snoops out of your computer: Be vigilant about protecting your privacy. Some companies automatically collect information about you and your computer each time you visit their Web site and sell it to other retailers, advertising firms and marketers.

• Be familiar with the privacy policy of each Web site you visit. Ask for an explanation of anything you do not understand. If you are not comfortable with revealing personal information, consider turning off the "cookies" function of your Internet browser

• Certain information, like a social security number or a woman's maiden name, can be used to confirm identity. Be wary of Web sites that ask for this type information when it is not essential to the transaction.

• You still can not get something for nothing: Be wary of claims that sound too good to be true, or which offer huge returns for little or no effort or risk (e.g. "200 to 600 % annual returns - risk free!")

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