Can I Trust My Email Address With That Website?

The Internet is like the Wild Wild West. It is the final frontier, with lots of landmine hazards to watch out for.

Consumers are signing up for free information by email, downloading freeware programs, and buying products and services online. How do you know if a website is secure or if they are going to release your email address to the spammers?

One of the ways in which people are fighting the online fraud is with disposable, temporary, dedicated email addresses specific for online sign ups. When someone sees or reads something that they are interested in, a person may have one or several email addresses to use when they sign up for something online. However, many websites are requiring more information, or permanent email addresses, and herein lies the problem.

The trust issue is the main ingredient when dealing with any company. If a company’s online privacy policy states that they share information with other advertising members or a conglomeration network has hundreds of other websites, will I then get tons of spam if I sign up for something? Then, even after reading privacy policies that supposedly do not share information, how can I be sure the company can be trusted?

McAfee is one company that has come out with a very cool automated tool that can give you a quick check of what is going on. The program is McAfee SiteAdvisor. The program can tell you before you even go to a website from the search engine results pages if a website is good or bad. With indicators of green, yellow, or red flag warnings of what to watch out for from each website.

It is an excellent program that works in tandem with your browser. It can be used for both Internet Explorer or Firefox.

The automated system for checking websites is very unique. The program checks for all types of Internet threats. “They built a system of automated testers which continually patrol the Web to browse sites, download files, and enter information on sign-up forms. They document all these results and supplement them with feedback from their users, comments from Web site owners, and analysis from their own employees.” Go to McAfee SiteAdvisor to download the software.

While you are at their website you could take the McAfee SiteAdvisor Spam Quiz (McAfee recently updated their website and the quiz page has been moved). This quiz test would have given you an indication to see if you could spot the websites that will produce the spam. It was very interesting to see for yourself. McAfee also provides the privacy policies from the websites to read and you can analyze the privacy information based on what McAfee says. I have to say that I read lots of privacy policies on the Web. Many of these policies are opened ended invitations to share your email address with virtually everyone. So, I fully expected to get a 100% on my grade. I missed one. After you take the test look at the results for all of the people that have taken the test so far. I think you will be surprised at the numbers of people that got it wrong.

While reading a privacy policy is important for a consumer today, the legal mumbo jumbo, and the length of these policies can be difficult to overcome. That is where having this program can be a great benefit for everyone. Check out your favorite websites. Can you trust them?

Look for a privacy policy that is easy to read and understand, and one that specifically states the company keeps your information private today.

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