Consumers are also being encouraged to shop on reputable websites such as Amazon, to avoid having their personal information compromised by persons with criminal intent. The Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) is advising consumers to be vigilant while conducting businesses online. Story Highlights The Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) is advising consumers to be vigilant while conducting businesses online.Speaking at a JIS Think Tank on November 30, Information Technology Manager at the CAC, Andrew Evelyn pointed out that the Agency does not have the legal power to pursue merchants who reside overseas.“Our Consumer Protection Act solely protects our local consumers and also our merchants. In that regard, when you are doing an online transaction with an overseas merchant, it is your duty and responsibility to take very special care in doing these transactions,” Mr. Evelyn explained.The Information Technology Manager noted that citizens should use websites that are secure, adding that one way to determine the security of a website is by looking at the site’s address.“Check the first five characters in the website name, it should start with ‘https’ as that indicates that the website protects highly confidential online transactions like online banking and online shopping,” Mr. Evelyn said.“It is very important that a website is encrypted as if it is not, then your credit card information and password are sent over the internet in clear text, meaning persons with the right software, can clearly see your password,” he added.Consumers are also being encouraged to shop on reputable websites such as Amazon, to avoid having their personal information compromised by persons with criminal intent.“The more reputable websites spend a lot of money to improve their security and they have well-established procedures to handle complaints and to provide redress or compensation to the consumer if the purchase is not satisfactory,” Mr. Evelyn advised.The CAC Representative also informed that persons can research reviews of a website through avenues such as betterbusinessbureau.com, www.yelp.com or ripoffreport.com.Mr. Evelyn also urged consumers to desist from conducting transactions online, while utilizing free internet connections.“Don’t make purchases online when connected to free internet. Persons with criminal intent, will put up these connections to lure you into using it, where they will capture the information entered and [then] they are able to figure out your credit card information,” he pointed out.Consumers are also encouraged to use a third-party payment platform such as PayPal, to avoid using their credit card information on several sites.“Using a third-party application helps to keep your information protected as you are unaware of how well your information will be kept on some websites. Therefore, an application like PayPal that invests a lot in their infrastructure will protect your identity and credit card,” he added.Mr. Evelyn also advised that persons should create stronger passwords; update their browsers; regularly check credit card statements; and avoid purchasing from links shared in spam emails. Mr. Evelyn also advised that persons should create stronger passwords; update their browsers; regularly check credit card statements; and avoid purchasing from links shared in spam emails.