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Safe Buying on the Internet

Many people buy online often and feel quite comfortable.Some people simply don't trust the process. Here are some tips to help you understand why can it be safe, and some things to keep in mind to keep it safe.

Perhaps the most worrisome part of shopping online is the payment procedure. To whom are you giving your information? Who else will have access to it? How can you ensure that a credit card number won’t be stolen and used illegally?

One way is to use an internet payment service. The best known of these is PayPal, which is owned by Ebay, and is free to the payer.

PayPal is a safe and secure way to pay. Those who shop online often may wish to open a PayPal account, but it is not necessary; one may use a credit card without opening a PayPal account. Because PayPal verifies your information and requires you to use a password, this is a very safe way to pay. Using a PayPal account to pay means no vendor or online seller has access to your PayPal balance, credit card, or banking information. This all but eliminates the possibility of credit card fraud or identity theft, as it is much safer than giving your credit card number to someone you don't know.

Even with services such as PayPal, it is necessary to take extra precautions.

- Make sure your password is unique. It is not wise to use something easily guessed, such as your mother’s maiden name, or your children’s birthdates. Use something less common, like the first letters of a favorite saying, or a long word with all the vowels replaced by consonants, numbers and symbols. Use at least one upper case letter and a character such as a comma or dollar sign in your password.

- Do not give your password to ANYONE.

- Always open a new browser to access your online banking, financial or PayPal account.

- If you receive an email that appears to be from your bank, internet service provider or PayPal, asking you to email your password and other personal information, DELETE it immediately. Don't click on any links or open attachments. There are many “spoof” emails that are not legitimate at all. Far from being the benign joke that name implies, these are attempts to access your financial accounts. Never – under ANY circumstances – reply to them, or give out any information.

These scam emails usually threaten that your account will be closed. If you look carefully you may see misspellings or the link may be different from the link you are used to seeing for that company. Also, legitimate email that comes from PayPal will address you by your full name, not "valued member."

If you are at all in doubt as to the authenticity of an email, open a fresh browser, go to the institution’s website, and enquire of customer service.

- If you are still concerned, place a telephone call to your bank or PayPal.

The best way to keep your information safe is NEVER to email your password or other personal information to anyone.

What else should you look for when shopping online?

1) Look for a secure site - If you order on our site you will see that we have a secure site mechanism. When you checkout using our shopping cart you will see that the "lock" icon for your browser is closed when your reach the screen requesting your credit card information. This icon is on the lower right for Netscape and Internet Explorer.

2) Look for a link that explains the company’s policies regarding returns and your privacy - We have a return policy and privacy policy listed. We will accept returns or exchanges and we will never share, rent or sell your email address or personal information.

3) Look for a link with contact information for the company

- We have a link with the information you need to contact us with questions, concerns or to let us know that you are returning an item.

Shopping online can be fun and safe if you keep a few things in mind. If this is the first time you are buying from our company or if this is your first online purchase, please feel free to contact us via email or telephone, and we will answer any questions you may have or help you with the process.

Thank you and happy surfing.

Thank you for shopping with Sparkle Plenty!

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