Tips for Secure Online Shopping

Tips for Secure Online Shopping
  • Opening Intro -

    No matter how many times you hear about identity theft and emptied bank accounts on the news, you can't help but continue your online shopping habits.

    Maybe, if it wasn't so convenient and affordable, you'd be able to give it up.

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By Amy J. Silver

Luckily, following a few safety tips can protect both your identity and your savings while allowing you to satisfy your cyber shopping needs.

Follow these tips for the safest experience possible:

Use Only Trusted Websites

With virtually every major retailer represented on the Internet, there’s really no reason to shop with an unknown ecommerce site. You might be thinking, “but, what if I see the deal of a lifetime?” It might be a good idea to pass it by no matter how much you think you’ll save. After all, JoeShmoUnbelievableDeals.com could be a scam site or might sell counterfeit goods.

When a cyber deal appears to be too good to be true, shoppers often end up paying the bill without receiving the promised goods. As a bonus, shopping from a known retailer usually means you can buy online and return at the store for added convenience.

Choose Your Card Wisely

When making an online purchase, never reveal your bank account information or use a high-limit credit card. The best bet is to keep a very low limit card just for online purposes or use a prepaid credit card. In fact, secure online shopping with the REACH card, or other cards like it,  is one of the easiest and most affordable options. It will protect your money and your identity.

Only Shop on Secure Sites

Even if you’ve shopped at a store your entire life, don’t enter any personal or financial information if the page isn’t secure. There are two easy ways to check this. First, look for the locked padlock icon in the status area of your screen, generally in the lower, right corner. Next, make sure the URL for the page starts with “https” instead of just “http.” Both of these features indicate that the page is using SSL (secure socket layer) technology to protect your valuable information. Or, you can go the old school way.

Don’t Tell Them Everything

While online retailers do need to know your payment information, your address and sometimes your phone number, they don’t need to know other pieces of information like your birth date, your social security number, or your mother’s maiden name. In the wrong hands, this combination can lead to identity theft and financial ruin.

While you’re at it, create a unique password that’s hard to guess on every site where you need to register. If you make a habit of always using the same one, it wouldn’t be too hard for someone to hack into your accounts. This is especially important on any site that requires the use of your email address as a user-id.

Install Virus Protection

A good security program can protect your computer from virus and spyware infections. This will not only protect your identity, but make your entire computing experience better.

By taking precautions and following simple rules, you can shop online as much as you want and protect your valuable information.

What safety steps do you follow during your cyber shopping sprees?

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Categories: Money Management