Good Digital Parenting
Blog | Jan. 7, 2014

Safety Tips: Online Donations and Online Shopping

Project Administrator, Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI)

Before you make any donations or do any online shopping, here are some important questions to ask yourself: 

Is what you’re donating to or the place you're buying from legitimate? 

When it comes to making a donation online, there’s an easy way to see if the organization or cause you’ve chosen is cool or just a scam. It’s a website called Charity Navigator and it evaluates charities – helping you know more about the legitimacy of an organization and, sometimes, what your dollars are being spent on. 

And when it comes to buying online, there are a few questions you can ask yourself to help avoid getting duped: Does the site look legitimate? Does it provide contact information or is there a customer service line? Does the site have Terms and Conditions listed anywhere? Is the website secure? Are there reviews by other customers anywhere else online? If the answer to one or more of these questions is, "No," you should probably buy elsewhere. 

Is the site you’re using secure? 

There are a lot of websites out there that collect financial information. But, do you know what to look for before you enter in your credit card details? Any easy rule to use is, “If there’s an ‘S’, you can probably say yes!” URLs for secure websites and pages start with “https” instead of the regular “http”. Make sure you look for that before handing over any info.

Are you giving out too much information? 

When you care about an organization or really want to buy a product, it’s easy to want to give up your information. But, you need to resist the urge to give out too much information. Most online donation or online shopping websites will require the usual information (address, phone number, etc.) but you should never give out details like your social security number, passport number, or driver’s license number. That’s TMI! 

Cover image courtesy of Flickr.