Protect Yourself While Shopping Online

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This is the season for online shopping. Everyone should take a few minutes to remind themselves that we all live in a dangerous online world. At our regularly scheduled training on December 6 I will talk a litte bit about online shopping and protecting yourself. In the meantime start the process of protecting yourself by reading the following article.

Shop With Well Known Establishments
Start at a trusted site rather than shopping with a search engine. Search results can be rigged to lead you to dangerous destinations. If you know the site, chances are it’s safe for shopping!

Shop Only On Secure Sites
Never trust purchasing anything online using your credit card from a site that does not have SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption installed. You can be assured of this by looking in the URL bar for the https:// in front of the website address as well as a padlock image. If you do not see these – do not use your credit card!

Don’t Give Up Your Personal Information
Online shopping stores do not need your social security number or your birthday. If the website is asking for this information, shop somewhere else!

Check Your Statements
Don’t wait for your bill to come at the end of the month. Go online regularly during the holiday season and look at electronic statements for your credit card, debit card, and checking accounts. Make sure you don’t see any fraudulent charges, even originating from sites like PayPal. If you see something wrong, pick up the phone and contact the vendor immediately!

Protect Your PC
Keep your computer update with a good virus and malware application! There are many good free solutions out there like (my personal favorite) Microsoft Security Essentials and AVG.

Don’t Be Lazy With Your Passwords
Strong passwords are critical when banking and shopping online.

Avoid Public Terminals When Shopping
Avoid shopping on public networks. Also keep your in home (wireless) network secure with a strong WEP and use your network to shop online.

One of the Oldest Lessons Out There
If the “deal” online sounds too good to be true it probably is. No one – and I mean no one is selling IPAD’s for $49.99! Stay away from these offers for you own good!