Chapter 22: Cybernomics
Students have learned how e-commerce has created changes in
the business landscape and in the power of the consumer. In
this exercise, students will examine how consumers should
protect themselves when shopping in the world of cyberspace.
Students will use information from the Better Business Bureau
Online Web site to learn about security while shopping online.
Students will read about the types of fraud on the Internet,
ways to research the reliability of merchants, and ways in
which consumers can safely shop online. Students will then
answer four questions and apply this information by visiting
an online store and evaluating the security provided to the
e-commerce: electronic commerce on the Internet
Web sites: electronic World Wide Web locations that
store information to be viewed or downloaded
Content Standards (from the National Council on Economic Education)
Standard 5: Voluntary exchange occurs only when all
participating parties expect to gain. This is true for trade
among individuals or organizations within a nation, and among
individuals or organizations in different nations.
1. Students will to able to describe actions that consumers
can take and the measures that merchants are using to protect
consumers' online security.
2. Students will be able to use this knowledge to visit an
online store and write an evaluation of the security provided
to the consumer.
Web Activity Answers
1. Fraud can be in the form of unsolicited commercial E-mail
or spam that requests monthly payments or sensitive information.
Because social security numbers and mothers' maiden names
can be used to confirm identities, they should be guarded.
Internet passwords should be changed periodically to maintain
security. Sometimes fraudulent merchants try to copy well-known
Web sites, so make sure that the site is authentic. For business
opportunities offered on the Web, ask companies to mail copies
of their statements, disclosures, and references. Then investigate
their claims. Additionally, children should be monitored while
online. Fraud should be reported to the Internet service provider,
the Better Business Bureau, and the Federal Trade Commission
or the local consumer protection agency.
2. Consumers can look for the "Better Business Bureau Online"
seal, which indicates that merchants have been independently
rated as consumer friendly. Several Web sites, such as BizRate.com,
ePublicEye.com, and ewonders.com, provide ratings
of consumers' shopping satisfaction with specific merchants.
Before buying, consumers should check merchants' privacy and
3. While shopping online, consumers should always have security
in mind. Check the address of the merchant's site, or the
Uniform Resource Locator (URL) to confirm the company. If
you are unsure about the Web site, look for a telephone number
to call and verify its authenticity. You can even check with
consumer agencies to ensure the company's reliability. Be
cautious about supplying personal information, and use a different
password for each account established. Before ordering, understand
the company's shipping charges and return policy. Never supply
your credit card number unless you are sure the business is
operating with a secure server. Finally, be careful to enter
the correct information when ordering, and always print a
copy of each purchase order with its confirmation number.
4. Being cautious while shopping at the mall means being aware
of physical threats. A thief may try to steal money by physically
getting to one's wallet. While shopping online, consumers
can be robbed by a thief who convinces them to give out their
credit information. Sometimes we can be fooled into letting
our guard down because we shop online from the comfort of
our homes. Shopping online requires just as much caution as
shopping at the mall, however.
5. Students' reports will vary.
Go To Student Web Activity