Have you tried online shopping yet? If you haven't grown tired of crowded malls and long lines, you might be in the minority. More and more people are turning to online shopping, preferring the comfort of their own homes.
But sending sensitive information, such as your address and credit card numbers, to internet vendors can backfire. There are cyber criminals waiting for you to make simple mistakes that can cost you time, money, and your peace of mind. If you want to enjoy the convenience of online shopping, take the following steps to keep yourself safe.
Use your home connection. Don't use public internet connections, such as those offered by coffee shops and hotels, when you shop online. Those connections are often left open and unprotected, meaning anyone could swipe your personal information. Keep your online shopping at home or do it from trusted networks only.
Update your equipment. When the software developers who designed your smart phone, tablet, or computer software realize a potential security problem may exist, they release updates to fix it. So when your device wants to power off and install updates, go ahead and let it.
Only shop on safe websites. Some websites are more secure than others. Check for “https” at the beginning of the web address, or look for a lock symbol in the address bar. This indicates that the website is safe and trusted.
Only give information that is necessary to complete a purchase. Being asked to enter your credit card number and expiration date is reasonable. Asking for your Social Security number is not reasonable. Exercise extreme caution with any internet vendor that seems to be asking for more information than should be necessary.
Don't use your debit card. Using your debit card for online purchases could mean that you risk your entire bank account. Since most credit card companies offer fraud protection, use a credit card when you shop online.
Check your credit card statements. Don't just throw your credit card statement in the trash! Look at it carefully to make sure you recognize all of the purchases listed.
Remember: If it seems too good to be true, then it probably isn't true. You can certainly find good deals online, but exercise appropriate suspicion if a deal seems too good to be true.
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