Staying Safe Shopping Online

Traditional Santa Claus with a modern laptop

As we prepare for the holiday season and with online shopping becoming more popular then ever before this is a good time to think a little bit about online security and protecting yourself while shopping online.

Here are some good tips to help you stay safe online this season.

  • Keep a Clean Machine: All the devices you use for shopping – including smartphones and tablets should have up-to-date software including security software, operating systems, programs and apps.
  • When in Doubt, Throw it Out: Links in email, tweets, posts, and online advertising are often the way cyber criminals try compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, even if you know who it came from, it is in your best interest to delete the email.
  • Think Before you Act: Be wary of communications that offer amazing deals that sound too good to be true and implore that you to act immediately. this includes that email messages that report a “problem” with an order or payment or that ask you to view the website via a provided link.
  • Beware Wi-Fi Hotspots:  Don’t share personal or financial information over an unsecured network (a connection that does not require a password). Using the cellular connection is safer than an unsecured wireless network when on your mobile device.
  • Make Sure the Site is Legitimate: This includes a closed padlock on your web browser’s address bar or a URL address that begins with shttp or https. This indicates that the purchase is encrypted or secured.
  • Protect your Personal Information: Be alert to the kinds of information being collected to complete the transaction. Make sure the information requested is only what is needed to complete the transaction. Only fill out required fields on checkout forms. Check the website’s privacy policy. Make sure you understand how your information will be stored and used.
  • Use Safe Payment Options: Credit cards are generally the safest option. Avoid using your debit cards.
  • Keep a Paper Trail: Save records of your online transactions, including the product description, price, online receipt, terms of the sale, and copies of email exchanges with the seller. Read your credit card statements as soon as you get them to make sure there aren’t any unauthorized charges. If there is a discrepancy, call your bank and report it immediately.

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