10 Online-Shopping Traps That Catch Even Smart Shoppers

Here's how to lower the risk of becoming a victim of fraud or identity theft.

Shopping online can be a great way to avoid the crowds, compare prices with ease and find deals. But it can also put you at risk of becoming a victim of identity theft if you don’t take the proper precautions. To keep your personal information safe, here are ten things you should avoid doing while making purchases on the Web.

Blindly clicking into unfamiliar sites. If you’re looking for a particular item, go to a well-known price-comparison site, such as PriceGrabber.com or Dealio.com. Don’t let a search engine pick a site for you because hackers seed search results with fraudulent sites, says Jon-Louis Heimerl, director of strategic security for security-services company Solutionary. Even if you're using a site that you think is legitimate, look for security labels, such as VeriSign and Cybertrust, and for https:// to appear in the URL on pages that prompt you to enter personal information.

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Cameron Huddleston
Former Online Editor, Kiplinger.com

Award-winning journalist, speaker, family finance expert, and author of Mom and Dad, We Need to Talk.

Cameron Huddleston wrote the daily "Kip Tips" column for Kiplinger.com. She joined Kiplinger in 2001 after graduating from American University with an MA in economic journalism.