Safer Online Shopping

As the holidays approach there’s an increase in online shopping, whether it’s to avoid the larger crowds, stay out of the cold, or simply because you want to shop online this time of year increases. Unfortunately, thieves know this as well. Here’s the dos and don’ts for staying safe on your virtual shopping trip.

Do:

  1. Whenever possible, use strong, unique passwords. Account security starts with using a strong password which typically is 8 or more characters with a mix of upper case, lower case, and numbers in it.
  2. Password protect home WiFi; securing home networks is important as it keeps others from easily gaining unauthorized access to the network.
  3. Use familiar websites; use sites you are familiar with and brand’s stores that you know. Likewise, if for some reason, (any reason), a site sets off a red-flag reconsider ordering from them.
  4. Look for the padlock in the URL bar, this usually shows that the site is encrypted.Closeup portrait of woman shopping online on laptop computer with credit card
  5. Protect your PC by giving it yearly checkups by a trained professional. This will help keep malware and key loggers off of the system, keeping banking and account information secure.
  6. Avoid offers that seem like they’re too good to be true, they can lead to malware, viruses, and key loggers.
  7. Read and review store’s return policy before purchasing an item.
  8. Check your bank statements. Even with the best security it is a good idea to keep an eye on bank statements after ordering online.

Don’t:

  1. Give all your information out while ordering. Legitimate companies do not need social security numbers and other personal information.
  2. Give credit card through email. No legitimate company will ever ask for your card information through an email.
  3. Avoid ordering from public computers. It’s easier for malware and viruses to be installed.
  4. Avoid buying on a public Wi-Fi. Most public Wi-Fi networks aren’t secured in addition encrypted and data can be sniffed out.