Today, more and more consumers find that online shopping saves them money and is convenient, but how do you determine which sites are safe to deal with? Everyone is looking for great prices, but the overriding concern is to find vendors who have secure websites that protect your privacy.
How does one go about finding a secure shopping site? There are two indicators you can check to determine if a website is properly safeguarded. The first is by looking at the URL, or web page address, at the top of your web browser. As you may have noticed during your Internet surfing experience, most begin with “http”. However, a secure site will have an address that begins “https”. Be sure the latter prefix exists when you arrive at a web page on which you will be actually entering sensitive information. The added ‘s’ is a signal to users that information (e.g. names and passwords) will be encrypted as it is transmitted. The second check for a safe site is to search for the padlock icon, usually located at the bottom of the screen. If the padlock is closed, the site is secure. Make sure this icon is in the browser window and not in the web page area. A click (or double-click) on a legitimate padlock icon will display a website’s security information.
Reputable shopping sites also have privacy policies posted that can be easily found and understood. This is where you will learn if the contact lens vendor shares your information with affiliated companies or other third parties. If they do, there is an almost certain likelihood you will receive unsolicited e-mail (‘spam’)-unless the vendor expressly restricts these parties from marketing in this manner. Also look to see if the site belongs to a ‘seal of approval’ program administered by the Better Business Bureau or others whose job it is to set guidelines for privacy practices.
Keep in mind that policies can change, especially if the website happens to be sold to or purchased by other companies. Review the policies at websites you do business with at regular intervals so any sudden ‘switches’ will not surprise you. This will allow you to take timely action to stop your information from being misused.
Since there are never any guarantees, care and research is necessary in selecting a legitimate online contact lens seller. However, this should not deter you from taking advantage of the convenience offered by online shopping. Remember, a responsible shopper will always be in a better position to take advantage of new opportunities. Take the time to locate responsible vendors that will safeguard their customers’ security and privacy.