Here are a few tips to shield you from predators looking to steal information while you shop online:
- Try to use credit cards and payment services, versus debit cards
The use of credit cards and payment services like PayPal are more secure because they are not directly linked to your bank accounts.
- Stay on top of Software Updates
Software updates are typically released to help improve security. Many tend to put updates off, because of the inconvenience of running the update and then restarting the computer. Complete the updates to keep your device and information secure.
- Avoid Unsecured Sites
As soon as you enter a shopping site or any site where you will be required to enter any personal or financial information, make sure the site is secure. Look for the “https” at the beginning of the website address. If there is an “http” without an “s,” the site is not encrypted and not secure.
- Use Security Software and Passwords
Ensure every device you shop from has security software and passcodes in place to lock the screen after you have finished using the device. Use unique passwords and change them periodically. After using a shopping or banking site, completely log out.
- Only Offer Required Information
Shopping websites ask you for information to open an account and/or complete a purchase. Only complete required information fields and skip optional ones. Take the time to read website privacy policies to find out if your information will be shared.
- Beware of Email Scams
The holidays are prime time for scammers to send viruses and other harmful things via email. If you receive an email from someone you don’t know, do not open it. Scammers also try to steal information by posing as financial institutions. Verify anything involving financial information via telephone, and make sure the number you call is legitimate and not from the email you received.
- Do Not Click Unknown Links
Links pop up when you are on news sites, shopping sites, and social media. Be cautious of what you are clicking on as clicking on a harmful link could expose your device to viruses.
- Only Download Shopping Apps from Reliable Sources
Only download apps from reliable sources and pay attention to the permissions the app is asking you for.
- Be Wary of Public Networks and Free Hotspots
Any information you enter on a network that is not secured, is exposed to hackers. Do not enter payment sites such as PayPal or the website to your banking institution when you are using a public network.