Arlington Composite Squadron IT Update for November 2012

I hope all of you enjoyed Thanksgiving and are back in the swing of things as we approach the end of the year.  You know well that there are a great many online transactions going on during this time of year – from Cyber Monday sales to charitable donations.  It seems like a good time to review some basic precautions for online shopping and giving.

First, it’s always best to shop at sites you know and trust.  If you get an e-mail about a particular sale and you click on a link to make a purchase, make sure the site you’re going to is the one you expect.  Link misdirection is a popular technique used to illegally gain access to credit card numbers.

When you’re ready to make a purchase or a donation, make sure your credit card details are being sent encrypted.  At the very least, make sure that your connection is protected via Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).  Look for the web address to begin with https instead of http – that last “s” indicates a secure connection.  Most web browsers will also put up an icon of a closed padlock or something similar to indicate that the transaction is secure.

If you suspect that your credit card information has been compromised, call the customer service number on your card as soon as possible and ask for help.  You are almost never responsible for any fraudulent charges and the card issuer will very quickly send you a new card with a new number – they want your continued business.

Finally, if you are interested in including the Civil Air Patrol in your charitable giving this holiday season, it’s easy to do so online.  There is a link at the bottom of the squadron homepage that will take you to a secure PayPal page to make a donation of any amount to the National Capital Wing.

As always, if you have any questions about this update, or about any CAP-related IT issue, please do not hesitate to contact me.