It’s so convenient to order items online, but do you know how to keep your information safe? We’ve got 8 tips to help you shop online safely.
1. Schedule deliveries when someone will be home
If you know something can only be delivered during the day when you’re at work, you might want to see if you can have it shipped to your workplace instead. Otherwise, try to coordinate with a neighbor to have it delivered there or have them watch for the delivery.
The longer a package sits unattended at your home, the greater the chances of someone taking it.
2. Buy from websites you know
Make sure any website you want to purchase from begins with “https” rather than “http”. You can also set up a separate account or credit card for online purchases only to limit your loss if someone does steal that information.
3. Watch out for online scams
Many scammers will send out phishing emails designed to look like they are from your bank or sites where you may have made recent purchases. If you’re not sure if it’s real, assume it’s not. Don’t click on any links or provide any personal information. Type in the URL of the website or contact your bank rather than responding to any suspicious emails.
4. Don’t give away too much personal info
No website should need your social security number or birthdate so that you can make a purchase. If you give this information away along with your credit card or account number, thieves can have an easier time swindling you. Give only the minimum amount of information needed to make your purchase.
5. Have an antivirus program or firewall
Setting up fake websites and emails aren’t the only way thieves try to get your information. Protect yourself from malware such as keyloggers by regularly updating your antivirus software.
6. Create strong passwords
Check out our blog post “Cyber Security: How to Create Secure Passwords” that gives password do’s and don’ts and explains how to protect your passwords. While it’s harder for you to remember your password when you use different passwords for different websites, it makes your information harder for thieves to access.
7. If you’re on mobile, use apps
If you use your smartphone for shopping, use a retailer’s app rather than going through their website. Apps tend to be more secure than using a web browser.
8. Shop cautiously in public places
If you’re on public wi-fi when you’re entering credit card information on a website, you run the risk of exposing your data to anyone else nearby. It’s incredibly easy for thieves to sit in a coffee shop or library with a device that scans other computers.
Once you’re offline, you should also be on the lookout for thieves, especially when you’re out shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. See our blog post “5 Tips for Safe Holiday Shopping” for more shopping safety tips.
Sources: PC Mag – 11 Tips for Safe Online Shopping, Tri-County Crime Stoppers News