Knowing when to trust a website depends in part on who publishes it, what information they want, and what you want from the site.

Here are five reasons to think twice before sharing information with a website.

1.       The site asks for personal information on a page whose URL does not start with HTTPS. If the URL in the address bar starts with HTTPS (instead of HTTP), the page is more secure. Never type passwords or other personal information unless you see the HTTPS.

2.       The site isn’t certified by an Internet trust organization. You can increase your privacy and security by shopping only at sites and using only services that have been certified by organizations such as TRUSTe , BBB Online, or the WebTrust website.

3.       You don’t know why they need the personal information. Watch out for sites that ask for credit card numbers or other financial information to verify your identity.

4.       You can’t find a privacy policy or privacy statement. Websites should outline the terms and circumstances regarding if or how they will share your information. If you can’t find this information, consider taking your business elsewhere.

5.       The site looks suspicious. Be wary of deals that sound too good to be true, offers that you receive in email messages from someone you don’t know, and email messages that you suspect might be spam.

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