TRUSTe's Privacy Protection Guidelines

1.      Read Privacy Statements.

Look for the Web site’s privacy statement and read it thoroughly. Steer clear of Web sites that don’t have a privacy statement. A privacy statement is a legally binding document that describes the personal information gathering and dissemination practices of a Web site. Make sure you understand how your information will be used before you do business with a Web site.

2.      Seal Programs.

Look for approval seals indicating that the privacy policies of the site are being monitored by an outside agency, such as TRUSTe. These programs allow you to turn to a third party if you feel that your privacy has been violated. Click on the TRUSTe Privacy Seal to see what information about you is gathered and with whom it is shared, as well as how to prevent the sharing of your personal information and how to correct inaccuracies.

3.      Credit cards.

The same consumer protection laws that apply in the mall apply on the Internet. Using credit cards allows you to contest any charges if the merchandise does not live up to the promotion. In addition, federal law limits your liability to $50 for purchases made with stolen credit card information.

4.      Security.

While no Web site is hack proof, you should only place credit card orders through secure servers. Most Web merchants alert you when you are entering their secure servers. Also check that the URL (Web address) begins with “https” rather than “http”; this indicates that you have entered the secure area. When using newer browsers you will also see either a closed lock or a solid key symbol in the status bar at the bottom of your screen.

5.      Common sense.

Don’t disclose information you wouldn’t want to disclose over the phone or in person. Remember: you can always contact the Web site to find out more about its privacy and security practices before you make a purchase.

6.      Protect children.

Just as you would teach your kids street smarts, help your children be “cybersmart” by giving them guidance on what to look out for when surfing the Net. Keep in mind that Web sites directed at children under 13 are required by law to adhere to certain privacy practices. These practices include obtaining verifiable parental consent before children participate in certain activities. Look for the TRUSTe Children’s Privacy Seal, a seal with expanded safeguards, on child oriented Web sites.


Parents' and Teachers' Guide to Online Privacy