How to Protect Yourself While Online Shopping
While we all still go to stores to do a lot of our shopping, nothing beats the ease of shopping online. You can get all that you need, all with just a tap of a screen or a click of a mouse. While shopping online can be fun, it can also pose real risks. You can reduce your chances of running into those risks by following a few simple rules.
Only Shop Where You Trust
As we all know, not every business online is legit. Some are fake and the sole purpose is to get to a hold of your personal information. Consider only shopping online with businesses that you know and trust.
Always Use a Unique Username and Strong Password
It’s tempting to use the same username and password for every website. It’s just less to remember, right? But if a hacker cracks your login credentials for one website, that hacker now has your credentials for each website you use, allowing them to have access to plenty of personal information. Get into the habit of mixing up your login credentials. If you want tips on how to create a strong password, read our blog post.
Look for the Lock
While online shopping, look for a small lock icon that appears in the URL address bar at the top of the webpage. This icon lets you know that the website has privacy protection installed. These websites’ URLs will also begin with “https” instead of “http”. These secure websites will mask and transfer data you share, such as financial information or passwords. If you don’t see the lock icon or “https”, think twice before entering any information or making a purchase.
No Public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi can be found at coffee shops, hotels, and many other places. For those who are tech savvy, public Wi-Fi allows hackers to view anything you may be looking at on the web, including emails, passwords and browsing history. If you must use public Wi-Fi, we suggest not logging into any websites or shopping online.
Purchase an Antivirus Program
Depending on which antivirus program you buy, it can help protect you from malware, spam, spear phishing emails and phishing attacks from websites. Once you have the antivirus program installed, you should keep it up to date to protect you from any new online threats.
Monitor Your Statements
Make sure to check your account and credit card statements often. Better yet, ask to receive text or email alerts for total purchases over a certain amount. Some hackers will use your card to make a couple of small purchases to test the card and then make a very large purchase. By setting up these text or email alerts, you will know about these purchases as soon as possible.
If you have a debit card with us, you can turn your debit card on and off with CardValet. You can also receive alerts when your debit card has been used and learn when your card has attempted, declined transactions associated with fraud.
If you have a Visa credit card with us, you can take advantage of Visa Purchase Alerts and SecurLock. Visa Purchase Alerts keeps your account secure by sending real-time transaction alerts. SecurLock also allows you to turn your Visa credit card on and off.
It seems like hackers come up with new tricks all the time; please be careful when shopping online. Bonus tip: check out the Federal Trade Commission’s website to learn about new online shopping scams.