I've never done, have wanted to for a long time now and see a big opportunity in a few companies. I've been referred to sites like Scottrade and other discount online brokers, my biggest hangup is putting my social security and personal info into this site using my home computer or even a public computer, identity theft seems to be common place these days and the idea of putting out my info makes me very nervous. Are there very many options in discount brokers as far as brick and mortar offices?
I specialize in trading a stock index future, but it is essentially like stocks.
I would not go with a big name, unless you are that paranoid of giving out your personal info, because you will pay many times what you could in commission. There are more brokers than you can shake a stick at, it's a business like anything, so there is tons of competition. I have been with a small discount all online broker for going on 7 years. I mean, there is always the chance of getting very unlucky (look up MF Global) but most likely you will be fine. Most brokers make so much money off people trading, there is no reason to steal your identity. You have to think... real hackers, do they want to go after a tiny lil guy, or a big corporation with much more data/resources...?