10 Steps Towards Protecting Your Privacy on the Internet

The AICPA's Bob Elliott joined representatives of other global accounting professional bodies in Paris this week to discuss the opportunities and risks inherent in e-business.

The group issued the following guidelines for protecting your privacy on the Web:

  1. Be cautious about giving personal information
  2. Use a secure Internet browser
  3. Make sure the merchant site is secure and review its privacy policy
  4. Pay by credit or charge card
  5. Beware of "Trojan Horse" programs - downloading programs off of the Internet from an unknown source
  6. Never give your passwords to anyone online
  7. Keep records of your online transactions and check your credit card statements
  8. Monitor the use of "cookies" by a site
  9. Do not allow children to use the Internet without supervision
  10. Look for sites that have been independently tested and verified

Details of these 10 items may be found in the August 1, 2000 press release.

Following these guidelines will help assure that your information, and that of your clients, will be kept as private as possible.

If you believe that your privacy has been violated by a Web site, the AICPA recommends you take the following actions: contact the Consumer Response Center at the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection. This Center can be reached by calling toll-free at 1-877-FTC-HELP or writing them at: Consumer Response Center, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, D.C., 20580. You can also contact the National Consumer League's National Fraud Information Center toll-free at 1-800-876-7060 or visit their Web site at www.fraud.org.

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