Tips for Safe Online Shopping
Online shopping is a quick and convenient way to purchase items, especially during the commotion of the holiday season. While you click from site-to-site, make sure you are practicing safe habits when making online transactions.
Here are Identity Theft Expert John Sileo’s 10 tips to keep yourself safe when shopping online.
- Surf on Familiar Sites. Only surf on sites you know are reputable, and always be aware of URLs. To be extra safe, type the URL directly into the address bar rather than clicking the links from emails or social media sites.
- Look for the Lock. Never buy anything online using your credit card from a site that doesn’t have Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption installed. You can tell that the site is encrypted if the URL begins with https://.
- Minimize Sharing. No online shopping store needs your social security number or your birthday to do business. The less information you give, the better.
- Turn on Account Alerts. Check your online account regularly and turn on automatic account alerts that notify you anytime your card is used.
- Protect Your PC. Protect against malware with regular updates to your anti-virus program. Also, consider setting up a dedicated browser to be used for online banking and transactions only.
- Utilize Strong Passwords. Make your passwords strong, alpha-numeric-symbol based passwords that are at least 13 characters. Or, you can use an encrypted password manager like Dashlane or 1Password.
- Avoid Public Terminals. Never conduct online transactions on a public computer (e.g. library, café, etc.). They are often loaded with keylogging software to copy and share your every keystroke.
- Privatize Your Wi-Fi. If shopping by a mobile device outside of your home, utilize a password protected Wi-Fi hotspot, a Virtual Private Network or the 4G or LTE connection on your mobile device.
- Know When It’s Too Good to Be True. “Coupon scams” offer a free product with purchase. Many of these “offers” will come in via social media by friends who have had their accounts compromised.
- Get a temporary credit card. Some credit card companies will issue a temporary credit card number for their customers. These temporary numbers can be useful for one-time or online purchases.