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Online Safety Online Safety
Protecting yourself online is one of the most important things you can do. That's why we created this page. We hope to give you the information you need to keep yourself safe.


Be sure to read the Privacy Statement located on the site that is requesting your information. This Privacy Statement should disclose what information is being collected on the website and how that information is being used. Before you provide any personal information, check their privacy statement to be sure your information is not being sold and shared. You can access our privacy notice via the information box on the left.


Recently, PayPal members have reported suspicious-looking emails (click HERE for an actual fake email) and fake websites. These fraudulent emails may address you with the salutation "Dear PayPal User" or Dear PayPal Member." These emails are not from PayPal. PayPal will only address you by your first and last name, or the business name associated with the account.

Use the following tips to protect your PayPal account:

  • Safely access the PayPal website or your PayPal account by opening up a
    new web browser (Internet Explorer or Netscape) and type in the
  • Never give out the following information in an email:
    • First name, last name, business name
    • Email and password combination
    • Credit card, bank account, and PIN number
    • Social security and driver's license number
  • Do not download attachments, software updates, or any application to
    your computer via a link you received in an email. PayPal will not ask
    you to download anything for your account to work.
  • Choose a unique password and change it every 30-60 days.
    If you think you have received a fraudulent email, please forward the
    entire email to and then delete it.


  • Never share your passwords with anyone.
  • Never write your passwords down where they can be found easily.
  • When creating passwords, don't use information that can be easily guessed (birthdays, phone number, address, etc).
  • When creating passwords, try to use a random combination of letters and numbers. Do not use words. A good password would be something like 3htRag02 (notice the letters, numbers, and upper case). Software used to crack passwords usually will go through the words in the dictionary to guess the password.
  • Change your password every 30 days.


When placing orders online, especially when credit card information is being given, look for https:// (notice the s) in the url which tells you that the site is secure. The https:// or the "closed padlock" indicates that the site is using SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) which uses either a 40bit or 128bit encryption key. This key cannot be intercepted and decoded by anyone except for the receiving server. Any secure address will begin with https:// instead of the regular http://.

Never provide your credit card information to a site that doesn't use SSL.

Note: uses SSL on all areas that your personal and/or order information is displayed/transmitted (account update, checkout, credit card processing, etc).


Always keep your browser updated. Newer versions have the latest security patches included. Also many bugs and holes within the browser that could allow hackers to gain control of your computer are fixed with each update.

Keeping the browser updated will help to ensure the website you are visiting is displayed properly. Many sites use features only available within the newer browsers.


  • Email is not generally considered secure.
  • Never provide your credit card information through email.
  • Never enter your username or password into an email, even if the email appears to be legitimate. Click HERE to see an example of a fake email asking for a username and password for PayPal.
  • Never open attachments within suspicious emails. If unsure, email the person who sent it to confirm it was legitimately sent and safe to open.


There are books available that you can purchase at your local book store or via that will help you protect yourself while online. Here are a couple that we recommend:

 cover cover


There is a vast selection of hardware and software is available online to protect yourself. We have compiled a collection of both free and paid software that you can download and/or purchase. All software listed are used to help protect yourself online.

  • Virus Scanner: A good virus scanner will scan your computer for known virus' and clean the infected file or store it in a safe place. The software should be able to update it's database of known virus regularly to keep you protected. Below are two that we recommended.
  • Firewall Protection: There are two types of Firewalls. Hardware Firewall and Software Firewall. A hardware firewall is usually in the format of a router. There are many different brand names available, we recommended Netgear or D-Link. A software Firewall is just a program that is running on your computer, much like a virus scanner, that monitors activity on the computer. The firewall will either allow or block the activity based on the settings, it will also notify you of any activity that it doesn't recognize and ask for your input to allow or block the activity detected. Below are links to both hardware and software firewalls.
  • Spyware/Trojans/Adware/KeyLoggers: There are a lot of programs out there that can can be installed without your knowledge. These programs range in the sort of functions that have. Some programs may steal your personal information, some may track your online activity, some may log your usernames and passwords, and some may even turn your computer into a gateway to send millions of SPAM messages to other people online. Never fear though, there is help. An excellent website to visit is They have a lot of information, links, and free programs to download.

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