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Holiday Purchases Online

The ease of online shopping has become super popular over the past few years. However, it is important that you take certain precautions to protect your identity.

Nashville, Ark. – You may already have all your holiday shopping taken care. If so, great! If not, you might be considering making some of your purchases online. The ease of online shopping has become super popular over the past few years.  We are so busy that the convenience of buying gifts and necessities over the Internet instead of making a trip to the store, having to go out of town to shop, and having to stand in long lines, is a great advantage. However, it is important that you take certain precautions to protect your identity. To help protect your identity from being stolen while online, follow these steps.

  • Only give your personal information to businesses and companies you know and trust, and only when it is appropriate, for example, an order form.
  • Never give your password to anyone and keep them hidden in a safe place. This includes your Internet provider.
  • Do not download files from strangers or click on hyperlinks from strangers. Opening one of these files could cause damage to your system.
  • Always look for the lock “icon” on the browser’s status bar, and the phrase “https” in the URL address. These signs help to insure your information is secure during transmission.
  • Use a secure browser. Be sure the browser has the most up-to-date encryption capabilities by using the latest version available from the manufacturer.
  • Check the site out before purchasing to see how your information will be used. Warning, you may have to search for it. Sometimes the information is posted and you have to agree to the terms. You may have to dig around for questions and answers to find out how the company will use or share your information.
  • Read and understand the refund and shipping policies before you make the purchase.
  • Pay by credit card. Under federal law, you can dispute the charges if you don’t get what you were promised. You can also dispute any unauthorized charges.
  • Keep personal information private. Do not disclose your address, telephone number, Social Security number, bank account number or e-mail address – unless you know who’s collecting the information, why they’re collecting it, and how they’ll use it.
  • Be cautious when buying gifts from an online auction. Know how the auction works and check out the seller’s reputation before you bid. Never wire money for purchases. Use some other form of payment. You may need to set up a special account for these purchases.
  • Don’t be tempted by offers of free money. Con artists take advantage of consumers by offering low interest loans or credit cards up front. What they are really after is your information and money.
  • Keep good records of online transactions and check for e-mails from the merchant showing what you bought. Most companies will send an email confirmation.
  • Always review your monthly credit card statement for any errors. If you see one, contact the credit card company immediately.

            The holidays are right around the corner. Keep your personal information secure when shopping online.

            The information for this article was adapted from the Arkansas Attorney General’s website,  you might want to check it out for more information on a wide variety of topics including current consumer complaints and alerts.

            If you want more information about shopping safely online, feel free to contact the Howard County Cooperative Extension Service at 870-845-7517 or visit our office located on the second floor of the courthouse.

Recipe of the Week

            Here is a great recipe for this time of the year, because it uses pumpkin. Pumpkins are high in vitamin A, which is important for beautiful skin and eye health. These yummy pumpkin pie parfaits are a delicious way to get your vitamin A for the day. They are a low calorie, great tasting dessert.

Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Dessert

15 oz. pure pumpkin puree

2 Tablespoon brown sugar

¼ cup unsweetened evaporated milk

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ginger

½ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup low fat vanilla Greek yogurt

6 sheets graham crackers

1 Tablespoon whole almonds, optional

            Place first seven ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Set aside. Crush graham crackers in a plastic bag.

            Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the pumpkin pie mixture into small 3 oz. containers. Add a heaping tablespoon of yogurt on top, then top with a heaping tablespoon of crushed graham crackers. Repeat layers. Add whole almonds on top, if desired. Serve immediately.

Yield: 6 parfaits

Nutrition information per serving: Calories-96, Fat-2 g, Sodium-227 mg, Potassium-182 mg, Carbohydrates – 17g, Fiber-2g, Protein-5g. Great source of vitamin A!


By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.