Security Tips to Stay Safe While Online Shopping
Keep these 10 tips in mind while shopping online.
1. Only shop on HTTPS websites
Most websites have made the change to be HTTPS but some still haven’t. The “S” stands for secure and means that your data is protected. HTTPS sites can make you feel more secure since you know they took at least one security measure to add the “S.”
2. Make sure you are visiting a legitimate online store
As many know, cybercriminals create fake websites for well known companies. Before you put in any personal information or payment information make sure to check that you are on the right online store and not redirected to a fake one.
3. Be careful of URL shorteners
Cybercriminals can use URL shorteners to hide the URL you are being sent to. If you see an ad with a deal that you want tolook at and possibly buy something from go to your browser and type in the store instead of clicking on the link.
4. Avoid email links
Be very careful of holiday phishing emails.If you see a deal that is too good to be true or get an email that causes urgency it might be a phishing email. Some other red flags to look for is poor grammar, poor links (hover over links to see where they go), and looking closely at the sender address. Best thing you can do is look up the store through a trusted browser instead of opening any attachments or clicking on any links in emails.
5. Do not use public Wi-Fi to shop
Public Wi-Fi is less secure and can give cybercriminals the opportunity to steal personal and valuable information. If you use public Wi-Fi, make sure you are connected to a VPN to protect yourself.
6. Monitor your credit and debit card statements
Make sure you are looking at charges on your credit and debit cards. You want to keep track of your purchases and their prices. This can help you spot hacks or bad business practices. If you see charge for something you didn’t purchase, make sure to reach out to your bank about it and lock your card so no other purchases can be made.
7. Look into using virtual cards
A virtual credit card is a completely digital card that is used for online purchases. Since the virtual card is linked to a credit card or debit card that you own, when you shop online it never reveals your credit card information.
8. Keep browsers updated
Always keep your browser updated.Hackers target vulnerabilities in outdated browser versions. Make sure you actively do the security updates to make sure you are using the best security and privacy extensions.
9. Make sure you are using strong passwords
Always practice using strong passwords. Make sure you are using long passwords with an assortment of characters and one that you can remember. Make sure each account has its own password. With shopping online and having to make several accounts it can be hard to remember all of your unique passwords. Using a password manager can help store your passwords in a secure place.
10. Always remember the less information you give the better
After making a couple of purchases online you have an idea of what type of information they ask for. Usually, they will ask about billing information, the address to ship your product to, and your name/contact info. If they ask you any other information that is not optional, it’s not a good idea to purchase from there. Companies will try and ask more questions for marketing purposes but won’t make these mandatory. A company will never ask for a password from another site or your personal id. If you see those types of questions, never put your information in and treat those as red flags.