8 Tips for Safe Online Shopping This Holiday Season
If you’re one of the 92% of shoppers who will go online to either research or purchase gifts this holiday season, we urge you to take the following precautions to ensure the Grinch doesn’t steal your personal information! Just as you would protect your wallet in a crowded brick and mortar store, remember to be as vigilant online.
- Look for the “S”: For shopping purposes and anything else that involves personal information, you need to be sure the website’s address starts with HTTPS. The S indicates a secure connection and any site you are purchasing items from should have it.
- If it looks too good to be true, it probably is: Watch out for emails from places you aren’t familiar with or that seem too good to be true. These emails can lead you to fake websites developed to steal your personal data. When in doubt – DON’T CLICK. If the deal is too good to pass up, type the website directly into your browser.
- Repeat after us: Public WiFi is not safe. It’s convenient, but you don’t know who’s on the network with you what they are doing, or what they’re capable of. They may just be waiting to steal credit card info. Shop from home or from another secure connection.
- Is your home network secure? Oftentimes people think because they are in the comfort of their own home that they are secure. However, if you have an openly accessible WiFi network it’s a serious security risk.
- Use a password manager. Beef up your security even more by using a password management app like LastPass, 1PassWord or Dashlane. These apps will allow you to sign in to websites with a single click, and can even generate random passwords that are incredibly secure.
- Stay up to date. We know they are a pain, but software and computer updates are essential to patching security holes and updating your virus definitions. Take some time before shopping to run all your updates and complete a full scan of your computer. Antivirus applications like Webroot, Avast, BitDefender and Home Free by OpenDNS are great options.
- Use an intermediary or stick with a single credit card. Sites like Paypal act as intermediaries to online vendors, keeping your information safe. If you don’t want to use Paypal, stick to using a single credit card to isolate your risk to one account.
- Lock your devices. Leaving your devices unlocked can expose your personal information to prying eyes, exposing your passwords, billing information and other sensitive data. Lock your devices with a password or code to keep your information secure.