Make Sure to Guard Your Information When Online Shopping
The prevalence of online shopping ushered in a whole new realm of security issues when it comes to personal financial information. Scammers are everywhere on the internet, just waiting for unassuming shoppers to make a mistake that gives them access to credit card numbers and other information that can help them steal your identity. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can protect your identity from theft when online shopping any day of the year. These include:
Avoid Using Public Wi-Fi
Data thieves and hackers often use public Wi-Fi to steal information, so only use secure Wi-Fi connections to make purchases or check your bank account. You never know who might be lurking on an unsecure network.
Use Strong Passwords
You’re probably tired of hearing it, but many compromised accounts and stolen identities can be traced back to weak passwords. Using unique passwords that are long, include symbols and numbers, and incorporate upper and lowercase letters can give you the strongest protection. It’s also important that you never use the same password on multiple accounts.
Check that the Website is Secure
If you’ve been searching for the perfect product and finally find it on an unfamiliar retail website, there are a few things you can do to make sure that the business is legit. One indicator is in the URL. If a website’s URL begins with ‘http’ instead of ‘https’, that’s a sign the website is not secure. It’s also important to check independent reviews before making a purchase on a website you’ve never ordered from.
Be Aware of Phishing
Scammers love to use any avenue they can to get information from you, and that includes emailing. And during and after the holiday season, you’ll likely see a lot of emails from retail sites that want your business. But scam emails often look like they come from reputable websites, which makes identifying them a challenge. Fortunately, there are a few ways to tell if an email is legit or if you need to move it to your trash can:
- The email is requesting your sensitive information, such as your password or credit card information
- The email doesn’t have a legitimate domain or has a misspelled the domain name
- The email is poorly written
- The email includes an attachment that you didn’t request
- The email says it comes from your boss, but the email doesn’t match theirs
- You never provided an email address to the company the email is coming from
If you see any of these signs that an email might be spam, make sure you do not open any links or click on any buttons, as these may infect your computer with malware. If you’re not sure whether or not the email is coming from a company you have an account with, it never hurts to call them directly and inquire about the email.