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Internet Safety: Don’t get Caught in the Web

Apr 25, 2008

by Sarah Feingold handmade and vintage goods

Etsy would like our community to be safe, both online and offline. When using the Internet we should all take precautions to ensure our safety and privacy. Here are a few safety guidelines to keep in mind when using Etsy and the Internet in general:

Personal Information: Take care when posting personal information about yourself or someone else on the Internet — including the public places on Etsy. Public spaces include your Etsy shop, the forum, Online Labs, and comments to blog articles. In many cases the information you post is permanent. Please do not post any personal information that you do not want the world to know (for example, your phone number, credit card number, and passwords). Before posting private information about someone else, make sure you have appropriate permission.

Specific Location Information: Avoid posting information that would make it easy for a stranger to find where you live or work.

Embarrassing Information: Opening up to the Etsy community can give you a sense of closeness.  It’s just plain fun. However, avoid posting anything that would embarrass you later. Remember, the forum is not your diary. If you do not want your mom, boss, friend, or child to learn about certain information or see a photo, do not post it on Etsy or link to it in a public area.

Real Life: It is fun to connect with people on Etsy, but be wary about meeting someone in person whom you do not know. Use common sense and good judgment because unfortunately, people aren’t always who they say they are. If you must meet someone, do it in a public place and bring a friend or trusted adult. Also, it’s a good idea to bring a mobile phone if you have one.

Abusive Behavior: Please treat each other with respect. Harassment, hate speech and inappropriate content should be reported. If you feel someone’s behavior is inappropriate, contact Etsy. Always trust your gut: immediately stop corresponding with someone if you feel threatened. If you feel unsafe, contact your local authorities.

Email and Your Computer: There are a number of ways to protect information on your computer. For example, a spam filter might reduce the number of unwanted emails (but check it, just in case an Etsy email gets stuck in there). Anti-virus software can be used to scan incoming messages for troublesome files, and anti-spyware software looks for programs that have been installed on your computer to track your online activities. Firewalls can prevent unauthorized communications from entering your computer. If you don’t recognize the sender of a downloadable document or file, delete the file without opening it to avoid getting a virus.

Passwords: Choose a password that uses a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. Avoid using obvious words, for example your last name or nickname, or dates like your birthday. Never share or email your password to anyone. Avoid using the same password on many websites, this way if someone discovers one password that person won’t have access to all your online accounts.

Internet Fraud: From phony lotteries and bogus employment and business opportunities to investment fraud and phishing, there are many Internet scams. Sometimes it’s hard to determine when an opportunity is legitimate. On Etsy, ask questions concerning consignment opportunities, requests for free samples, and solicitations for craft fairs. Be wary of requests to take transactions off Etsy. Do your homework and ask for references, full names, and contact information. Keep your personal information, password and credit card information secure and never send this information via email.

Remember, the public spaces on Etsy are indexed and searchable by major search engines.

The United States Department of Justice has a great article about Internet fraud and PayPal has an article about how to protect yourself from fraudulent emails. Take a look at Etsy’s Privacy Policy for information on how Etsy keeps your information secure. Also, check out the Storque’s articles on consignment, scams and custom orders.

We at Etsy love our community and hope you will take these tips into consideration in order to stay safe online. Please share any additional Internet safety tips in the comments below.


  • littleputbooks

    littleputbooks said 11 years ago

    this is a smarticle. a smart, article. :)

  • beyondtherockz

    beyondtherockz said 11 years ago

    smarticle, astute-icle.

  • ClaudiaLord

    ClaudiaLord said 11 years ago

    This is a very good article. Thanks!

  • CourtneyWatson

    CourtneyWatson said 11 years ago

    Thank you for this article- feeling safe & secure here @ Etsy (:

  • LycheeKiss

    LycheeKiss said 11 years ago

    This is a very good advice, I've learn something better. Thanks SarahSays.

  • Jenarter

    Jenarter said 11 years ago

    Great article, thanks! I thought of something else. Be sure to always log out of Etsy or any account if your on a computer in a public place, like work, or a cafe or library. I know I don't log out often at home, so I might for get if it was me. :)

  • raghousenternational

    raghousenternational said 11 years ago

    Thanks for this article. I will look into it!

  • jamieleto

    jamieleto said 11 years ago

    good job with this ! useful info.

  • eclipse

    eclipse said 11 years ago

    "Specific Location Information: Avoid posting information that would make it easy for a stranger to find where you live or work. " "Strangers" can get your address without you posting it. All they have to do is buy an item from you. Since Etsy's primary function is buying and selling merchandise, people do have to give out their address, so it may be useful to use a P.O. Box instead of home or work address. "If you don’t recognize the sender of a downloadable document or file, delete the file without opening it to avoid getting a virus." You shouldn't open an unexpected file attachment even if you *do* recognize the sender. Most virus programs will hijack an infected computer's email program and send the file to everyone in that person's address book. The "sender" may be your best friend's address but if you don't know what the attachment is, you should ask them before opening it.

  • herbanelements

    herbanelements said 11 years ago

    important info, but you scared me because i received kind of a weird convo just last week from someone who "lived near me" and wanted to "get his hands on my things"! creepy.

  • APunkinCardCompany

    APunkinCardCompany said 11 years ago

    Great advice!

  • jewelscurnow

    jewelscurnow said 11 years ago

    Be careful with your birthdate!

  • LynnDaz

    LynnDaz said 10 years ago

    This is great advice to all even those not on the net. One can never be too careful where strangers are concerned. Net Safety is the first thing my children learned before being allowed on the computer.. and this is also true for adults just learning as well.

  • LoraneR

    LoraneR said 10 years ago

    I'm just starting.....and got a lot to learn.

  • GardenAngels

    GardenAngels said 10 years ago

    Thank you for all the info....I will sift through it somehow!

  • niceartthings

    niceartthings said 10 years ago

    Thank you for that article, it is very useful indeed :)

  • pogoman6

    pogoman6 said 10 years ago

    I have liked what you have disclosed to your readers. I have just read a book published by Eloquent Books called ' Scammers Among Us Beware'. It is a self help guide of compiled data from US agencies, Canada, the UK, and Interpol regarding various scams, scam protection, shopping online, chat rooms, art paintings and their protection as told by Interpol. There are many other important information facts with web pages and cite pages along with the writer's personal testimony of his involvement with some scam shysters. Please view, and Thank you.

  • LoraneR

    LoraneR said 10 years ago

    I wrote in February (4 above) and I've learned a lot since then. The article was scarry/creepy and I just can't fathom people like that. So I know this article (is great) and very necessary. I'm thinking about Facebook and the like. I don't think I want to be on there anymore.

  • wildewud

    wildewud said 10 years ago

    Thanks for the reminders - it's awfully easy to become complacent...

  • RomanceCatsAndWhimsy

    RomanceCatsAndWhimsy said 10 years ago

    Another thing to be careful with is money orders. They can actually be from the post office and still be fraudulent. The scammer can either be a former employee or know someone at the post office in order to get the money order. So even if you call the USPS money order verification system - the money order will be in their system. The post office advises that it's not a guarantee and can still be a fake. Take ALL money orders directly to the post office and have an EXPERIENCED postal worker confirm whether or not the money order is legitimate. If they just hold the money order up to the light to see the Ben Franklin watermark - this is not enough because fake mo's will have this as well. But what they don't have is all of the official information completed that can only be done at the post office itself. Let the post office decide and cash your money orders there.

  • flutterbyby7

    flutterbyby7 said 10 years ago

    Great advise! Also think twice before doing anything you're not sure of..

  • jewelryshop88

    jewelryshop88 said 10 years ago

    Dear VIP customer: As Christmas is in the corner, I would like to avail myself of this chance to wish you Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Wishing you every happiness and expressing appreciation for your cares and concerns during the year. I sincerely wish that I will have better and more cooperation during new year 2010! ALL THE BEST TO YOU!! Cheer chen chufen

  • UrbanGraffiti

    UrbanGraffiti said 9 years ago

    good advice

  • bellapovera

    bellapovera said 9 years ago

    Great advice, thank you!

  • LoriMarie

    LoriMarie said 9 years ago

    Great Article..Thank You !!

  • quitewoman

    quitewoman said 9 years ago

    Very good article.I recently started to learn how to protect my privacy and identity on line. Now I am using for most mine online activities. It took me a while to realize that we need to pay an attention to this issue.

  • flowuur

    flowuur said 8 years ago

    Great information I have read today on protecting our identity online, I always try to be careful on line, but you never know.

  • angelina104

    angelina104 said 8 years ago

    HDMI supports standard video formats, enhanced video and high-definition. It is also backwards compatible with DVI (Digital Video Interface). High-end graphics cards featuring a DVI port can connect to a HDMI interface via a DVI/HDMI cable. This is simply a cable with a DVI connector on one end and a HDMI® connector on the other. As a rule, HDMI® cables should not run longer than 15 feet (5 meters), or degradation of the signal could occur.

  • cooperhome

    cooperhome said 8 years ago

    Better safe than sorry! Thanks for the information.

  • BeachsideBits

    Hazel from BeachsideBits said 7 years ago

    Unfortunately, I have just been caught by a fraudster. They had no etsy feedback, purchased a pair of my earrings, paid via paypal, I POSTED straight away. Then they sent me an email from a mobile phone to say they had not purchased the earrings and it was fraud! What do I do???? I refunded the whole amount and tried to cancel the etsy transaction. I suspect that this 'person' just wants to tarnish my reputation by leaving negative feedback ( had this before on ebay :-( ). I feel very vulnerable as I am the one who is out of pocket. What would you suggest to help sellers protect themselves agains this sort of behaviour???

  • ikabags

    IKA PARIS from ikabags said 7 years ago

    Thanks for great post !

  • vevela2012

    emma zhang from vevela2012 said 7 years ago

    Good advice ,great!!!

  • blissfulvine

    JoAnne from BlissfulVine said 7 years ago

    Seems like common sense but in today's closely-connected world, it's easy to lose sight of protecting ourselves...and others we may know through our Etsy dealings. Thanks for a really great article!

  • nomalucas

    Noma Lucas said 6 years ago

    I have had a good experience with Etsy - a purchase from a very reliable shop. The information given for possible problems with strangers should certainly be taken seriously. Good advice.

  • teach1998

    teach1998 from teach1998 said 6 years ago

    How do I remove my picture??? Be careful...I had someone in Baltimore fleece me out of a Tom Clark statue. Sent me a bounced check, then removed himself from Etsy. Used the name Christopher Sebald, Mark Cohen and Mark Salway. Lesson learned!

  • marcytraum

    Jasmine from jasminenyc said 6 years ago

    Please be careful! I loved Etsy and bought many great things but then encountered some scam artists who listed several shops under different names and were not even selling hand made goods. Nancy Cloutier owner of lux beads and her daughter, Cindy Cloutier, owner of cctexan3 and beacon beads are particularly nasty duo. They basically have wholesale beads that they mark up the price, but I decided to buy some crystals from Nancy at luxbeads. BIG MISTAKE! The crystals were atrocious, they looked nothing like in the pictures and were all broken and opaque and mis sized. TOTALLY MISREPRESENTED. So instead of just being professional and making return, as others have before, she becomes irate and writes these lenghty accusatory emails and has clearly no history of professionalism, ethics or knowledge of the english language. Long story short, she takes my information from the sale, somehow finds my phone number online and calls me at home to harass me!!! Then she has her daughter (which I didn't realize at the time) make a fake sale under a man's name, DUANE MOORE, and then cancel it immediately just to be able to place NEGATIVE feedback on my new site which is basically a hobby because I love crafting jewelry. This continues to escalate and I thought Etsy would come right away to help to make sure my info is safe and hopefully chastise or ban them from Etsy but no I hear basically nothing for over a week. I had to call the police, better business bureau, start a law suit over the principle. I then started to look around and do research and found out that alot of Etsy is turning into craigs list and ebay and etsy is not concerned. I have reported DOZENS of stores that are selling things like limoges boxes and using multiple aliases and off linking from Etsy but nobody from Etsy has bothered to respond. Meanwhile I'm scared for myself and my family that these two Texas grifters are onto me and likely scamming my identity as I rant. I decided that an article needs to be written to the ny times about what has happened here on Etsy!!! Are they allowing these people to just put wholesale, non artisan, items up to make more money? I thought that was against the rules and against the ethos at Etsy.

  • marcytraum

    Jasmine from jasminenyc said 6 years ago

    AND JUST SO NOBODY ELSE IS SCAMMED...It is NANCY CLOUTIER OF LUXBEADS and BEADCHATEAU (both sites on easy but same owner) and CINDY CLOUTIER OF CCTEXAN3 AND BEACON BEADS (again both sites on etsy, same owner and nothing hand made.) DUANE MOORE makes purchases for them and then disputes through paypal but who knows if they just made that name up. BEWARE HONEST AND TRUE ETSY LOVERS!!!

  • schamber

    Sally Chamberlain from ChamberlainCreations said 6 years ago

    i have a question....i just got an order for $2700.00!!! 62 of my items! it's a direct payment. the buyer just joined etsy yesterday so there is no history. the money will "possibly" be in my account tomorrow. I won't ship till after the money is clear and in my account but i'm worried about even doing that. am i safe once the money is in my bank account or could it be taken out if they figure out this is fraud?? i found on etsy that they cover credit card fraud but i'm sure it would be a hassle. what do you think?

  • lovehart

    Jo Anne Brieff from Salutetotheartists said 6 years ago

    This is a scary thing. Did you join the Etsy protection? Can't they help there? Can't imagine that someone would take money back from your bank account without a big legal issue pursuant . Good luck. Let me know what happened?

  • carolgonzales2

    Carol Gonzales from WhenYouSeekUnique said 5 years ago

    GERMANY SCAMMERS contacted me today....acted interested in an item; I didn't indicate on my site that I sold to any other than USA. So they inquired if I would ship to them. I checked into the shipping costs, (as that is what usually would be high and a detriment) and they accepted the $15 shipping. They communicated only in German, so I had to use a translator to communicate with them. DAGMAR KOGEL; she gave me this address: Frau Dagmar Kögel Augustaplatz 8 76530 Baden -Baden Germany ALSO A RED FLAG: Joined in Nov 2013....has NO followers, no selected items that she likes. What she really wanted was to 'wire' me the money and bypass buying with the Etsy system. I reiterated that she had to use the 'Add to my Cart" feature to purchase....and that system would change from German currency to USA currency. NEVER HEARD ANYTHING MORE FROM HER.

  • uaebusiness1983

    uaebusiness1983 said 5 years ago

    hi , I try to contact the some owner but I can't. when I write the conversation the system reply that am disable to make conversation temporary. I need help

  • uaebusiness1983

    uaebusiness1983 said 5 years ago

    am from UAE , I will open my store this month and I need to deal with some seller.

  • WhatsYourTreasure

    A.M. from KraftyMomandSupplies said 4 years ago

    I made the mistake of hiring a college student to do a business website. Not only did she change my password and wanted more money to finish my site which I never got. I contact Etsy immediately and they indicated since a media purchase the couldn't help me. It been a few months and wrote a negative remark about the person. She constantly keeps emailing me not only on etsy, but my personal email, calls me and keeps on Etsy. How do stop this harassment.

  • shawahraindancer

    Shawah Raindancer from Psychicloveblessings said 3 years ago

    I've experienced abusive behavior and have never been helped by Etsy when an attack had been made on my shop. Etsy had not stood behind its own guidelines. I feel very ignored in my concerns even though I was the one attacked. Etsys trust and safety team had not helped at all.

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