Convenience, two-day delivery, countless options at your fingertips, online shopping has only grown in popularity and billions of dollars will be spend this holiday season online. While online shopping is convenient, how can you do it safely?
1. Use Familiar Websites
Start at a trusted site rather than shopping with a search engine. Search results can be rigged to lead you astray, especially after the first few pages of links.
2. Use credit cards and secure payment services instead of debit cards
Credit cards, in comparison to debit cards, offer consumers additional protection when shopping online. There are laws that protect both when it comes to not being liable for any fraudulent charges, but credit cards are the safer option.
3. Look for the Lock
Never buy anything online using your credit card from a site that doesn’t have SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption installed. A SSL site can be identified because the URL for the site will start with HTTPS:// (instead of just HTTP://). Look for the locked padlock.
4. Don’t Share Everything
No online shopping store needs your social security number or your birthday to do business. However, if crooks get them, combined with your credit card number for purchases, they can do a lot of damage. The more they know, the easier it is to steal your identity.
5. Opt for your mobile phone network over Public WiFi
Public WiFi is convenient. However, when it comes to buying online, all the convenience that comes with public Wi-Fi can be overshadowed by the many risks. Don’t log onto a public WiFi to complete shopping transactions, banking, or email.
6. Check 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 to make sure you don’t see any fraudulent charges.
7. Protect Your PC
Make sure your computer has the latest antivirus software. You need to protect against malware and other viruses with regular updates.
8. Use Strong Passwords
We have all heard this before, but it is so important. Your password should be different on all your accounts (or at least different for business and personal accounts) and you should use a string of text that mixes numbers and letters that are both upper, lowercase and special characters too.
For more information about crime prevention, visit www.naperville.il.us/asafernaper.
Until next month… Stay Aware & Stay Safe.
Editor’s Note: Many local businesses and local nonprofits offer online services. Local matters.