22 Dec 2017

Use Caution while Holiday Shopping Online

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During the holidaysshopping online can reduce a lot of seasonal stress. However, with cyber scams at their peak during this time of year, make sure to safeguard your online data with these protective online shopping tips:

1)    Only shop at websites you trust

It’s easy to tell whether a store is a legitimate business when shopping in-person—it’s right there in front of you. But online, businesses can be fabricated with fake websites and merchandise to lure you into entering your financial information. To avoid these scams, only shop at websites you trust or have shopped with before.

2)    Look at the address bar

When you’re shopping online, you can determine if a webpage is secure by looking at the address bar:

  • If the website has privacy protection installed, you will see a small lock icon in the left corner of the URL field.
  • If the URL starts with “https,” it means the website is secure and encrypted. This is especially important on webpages where you need to enter your financial information.

3)    Create strong passwords

Online retailers will often require you to create an account to finish shopping or check out. So, create a strong and unique password to safeguard your account from being accessed by an unauthorized user.

4)    Watch out for email scams

This season, don’t let the guise of a steep discount trick you into clicking on a malicious link or attachment:

  • As always, remain vigilant when opening any email you receive – especially from unknown senders or unrecognizable sellers.
  • Always think twice before clicking on links or opening attachments, even if they appear to be from people or organizations you know and trust, such as your favorite retailer or bank.
  • As a general rule, if an offer seems too good to be true—it probably is.

5)    Avoid public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi networks are vulnerable to being hacked into, so avoid using them whenever possible while doing your holiday shopping. In addition, set your device to “ask” before joining new wireless networks so you don’t unknowingly connect to an insecure or fraudulent hot spot while out and about.

6)    Check statements regularly

If your account is accessed by an unauthorized user, you can often prevent further damage from being done by checking your bank statements regularly—at least once a week—for fraudulent charges. If you see a charge on your account which may be fraudulent, contact your bank immediately. You can also set up account alerts so you receive a text or email whenever your account is charged, and can recall whether you made the transaction.

With these tips, you’ll have much happier holidays knowing your financial information is safe.