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Privacy

A privacy statement is pointless without also providing SSL security for the website. Otherwise, even an innocent cookie can be exploited by 3rd parties wishing to nose in on your business.

We take privacy very seriously. We do not launch cookies for any reason. However, as you make use of the Paypal buttons to shop, Paypal will launch cookies for the purpose of tracking the items in your order. The Paypal cookie also tracks whether you are a Paypal customer, or a guest, and retains this information into the future, at least until you clear your browser cache of cookies. As far as we know that's all they do, but you could always check their privacy statement to learn more.

All our pages and links make use of secure SSL connections, and in compliance with well researched security publications such as SSL Labs. And we do not accumulate data on users reading our website. Your IP address is discarded the moment you break the connection. You will not receive spam mail as a result of interacting with our website. And, no malware is hidden anywhere on our site.

We don't collect credit card numbers or banking information. Instead, we make use of Paypal services, configuring them to keep this type of data solely on their servers. This high reputation service is backed by the highest grade technical support and dispute centers. We've seen them in action and were won over by their comprehensiveness and professionalism. Trust is hard to come by on the web, making Paypal of high value in protecting privacy.

We do not retain customer accounts. Repeat business discounts are based on the destination address, while warranty returns are based on PC serial numbers.

We keep contact information behind a strong firewall, and do not give it out to anyone for any reason.

Privacy Tips

Unfortunately, privacy is something everyone needs yet few understand how to obtain. Without it hackers can get at your account numbers and private life. Yet to understand what to do seems to require a degree in computer science.

And to make matters worse, straight-talk privacy statements are hard to come by. Standard corporate-think makes nearly inevitable very tricky privacy statements tip-toeing around all the things that they really are doing to violate privacy. Be sure to not be fooled by skillful wording.

So what can be done? Well, for one, make use of a fully upgraded browser. Chrome is recommended. Then watch carefully to the left of the URL each time you pull up a website. If there is a red exclamation point then any information that you type on that site is at risk. Worse yet, cookies (invisible programs) may have already been launched that do not follow security guidelines. Avoiding these websites will help to prevent 3rd parties from interfering. You should also pick and choose websites based on how much you trust them to follow safe business practices. Then, be sure to use strong passwords that you store safely. And finally, never ever click on an ad.

These tips should only be considered "generally advisable". If your situation calls for it then you may need to add a lot more to your privacy strategy. For example, you could make use of one mobile device for banking purposes, keeping it clean of all other activities. And you may want to make use of an indirect Paypal or Google payment number for all your on-line shopping, and bill paying, as an added layer of defense in on-line transactions.

Telling A Phishing Website

Then possibly one of the trickiest points that must be understood is how to tell the difference between a link to a valid website, versus a link to a phishing website. The sole function of a phishing website is to get you to believe it is the right website so that you'll go ahead and type in some important information that they can then steal from you. Such as your login to the real site you thought you were at, or your mailing address, cc number and/or social security number. Here's the steps we suggest to help spot a phishing site...

  1. be sure you know the correct domain name spelling for the website you wish to visit; the entire domain name must be displayed exactly correct within the url of the link and not contain a period immediately after the domain; if not sure then check reliable sources and get it right before attempting to visit the site (example: if the site you wish to visit is www.example.com, then by all means www.example.com.tw will be a phishing site designed to steal personal information, and the giveaway was the ".tw" at the end, or any url where the domain (www.example.com.tw) is immediately followed by a period (www.example.com.tw))
  2. do not trust the link text, that could be anything at all to fool you
  3. instead, look carefully at the mouse-hover-url to see that it contains the correct entire domain name and with no period right after it (so let's say you want to visit example.com, then consider these valid: abc.example.com, www.example.com, https://example.com/images/tree.htm, https://example.com/images?tree, and these invalid: example.com.cn, example.com.a83231b.us, examp1e.com)
  4. be sure the SSL is working from the very first click (you should see a padlock near the url bar on the first click, otherwise it is not setup right)
  5. then after that very first click you'll also need to look over the url again, because the mouse-hover-url could have been a trick as well (though very unlikely); look at the url in the address bar to be sure the domain name is still correct, and still does not have a period immediately after it
  6. and last but not least be sure the page you are looking at makes sense; its ok to be suspicious
  7. if anything listed above was wrong then the only safe thing you can do is click the "x" to get rid of that browser tab, and then run your virus and malware scanners

One of the most common and unfortunately most serious phishing website scenarios involves pluralization or the lack of it in some portion of the domain name. For example: barclaysus.com/activate is valid, while barclayus.com/activate is actually a phishing site designed to steal from you. (And this one has likely not been removed because when accessed again it becomes an advertising site. ...slippery as weasels.)

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