Office: 713-232-7774    Fax: 713-232-7122

By clicking any third-party link, you will leave this website and be redirected to a third party site. The mere fact that there is a link between this web site and another does not constitute a product or program endorsement by Southern Federal Credit Union or any of its employees. Southern Federal Credit Union has no responsibility for content of the web sites found at these links, or beyond, and does not attest to the accuracy or propriety of any information located there. Privacy and security policies on the third party website may differ from those practiced by Southern Federal Credit Union. The credit union does not represent either the third party or the member if the two enter into a transaction.

Online Safety

Ordering Online
Believe it or not, the safest way to shop online is with a credit card over a secure connection. The important part of that first sentence is over a secure connection. There are a number of ways to tell if the site you are visiting uses secure technology to guard your credit card and other information. For instance, you can:

  • Check the address of the page you are on. If it begins with https:// instead of http:// secure sockets layer (SSL) technology is being used to encrypt your credit card information.
  • In Microsoft Internet Explorer, a secure site will show an icon of a lock on the status bar.

Don’t e-mail private information
E-mail is not at all secure. Never send credit card information, passwords, social security numbers, bank account numbers, or any other personal information in an email message. "Theft of identity" is a growing crime: be very careful with any information that could be used to impersonate you.

Should you call it in?
Many sites allow buyers to order online, and then give credit card information over the phone to complete the order. A lot of people feel safer sharing information over the phone, but it’s actually safer to send the information on a secure Web site.

If you do give credit card information over the phone, make a note for yourself about each transaction. Write down:

  • The company name
  • The phone number
  • The date and time of your call
  • The name of the person you spoke to
  • What you ordered
  • Item prices
  • Total order price, including shipping and any applicable taxes

Keeping records
No matter how you pay for your purchases, keep records when you shop online. Print out and save:

  • The seller’s name, snail mail address, URL, and phone number
  • The Web page describing the item you ordered
  • Confirmation messages and any other e-mail from the seller

Also take notes on any phone conversations you have with the seller or send and save an email confirmation of the phone call. For more information on shopping safely online, check out the Safe Shopping Site. Safe Shopping.

Online Privacy
As fishy as it sounds, it’s perfectly legal for Web site owners to collect data about you and sell it to other companies. When you shop online, the seller may be earning twice from you: once on your purchase, and again by selling information about you to other companies. They can sell your name, address, and data on what sites you visit and what you buy. The other companies use the information to market their own products, resulting in more junk mail, spam, and telemarketing calls for you. And we don’t know anyone who wants more of them.

Selling information about people is not new and not limited to the Internet: catalog companies sell your information to other catalog companies, and even charities sell mailing lists to other charities. The added twist on the Internet is that companies can trace not only what you buy from them, but also what other things you’re interested in, based on the sites you visit.

How can you protect your privacy?
Look for a privacy policy on any site that asks for information about you. Whether you’re shopping, filling in a free registration form, registering a product, or entering a contest you may be asked for information that can be sold. A privacy policy should tell you what information is being gathered about you, how the information will be used, and whether you can choose how the information will be used.

Avoid "cookies." Cookies are small files that a site puts on your hard drive to monitor where you go and what you do. You can set up your navigator to accept all cookies, refuse all cookies, or notify you when a cookie will be deposited then allow you to accept or reject it.

  • In Microsoft Internet Explorer, choose Tools, Internet Options, Privacy. Move the slider to select a privacy setting for the Internet Zone.

Remember: If you are surfing while at work or in any other situation where you’re on a network or working through a firewall, your employer or other network owner can also trace where you’ve been on the Internet and how much time you spent there. If you don’t want your boss to know you went to a site, don’t go there at work.

Use passwords wisely.

  • If you use a password to log on to your computer or a network, don’t use that password for online orders. Also, if you have any particularly sensitive passwords – for a banking site, for example, use those passwords for only that one function.
  • Create passwords that are hard to guess. Don’t use your name, address, birth date, phone number, or recognizable words. Numbers and punctuation marks help make a password difficult to guess. One way to create a password that is easy to remember but hard to guess is to take the first letter of each word in a sentence, movie, or song title and add a number to it. The movie, The Road to El Dorado, for example, could become TRTED75. Or try Snow White and the Seven Dwarves: SWANT7D.
  • If you have a hard time remembering passwords or keeping them straight, you might have to write them down.


    • Keep passwords near your computer
    • Keep all your passwords in one place
    • List the password and the site or function it belongs to in the same place

Helpful On-line Resources
Below is a listing of some additional useful Web sites.

First Gov for Consumers: Consumer information from the federal government.

Internet Fraud Complaint Center: FBI and National White Collar Crime Center partnership addressing fraud via the Internet.