Safety Tips For Buying Online

Everything you’ve ever wanted can be found online. It’s a mecca of odds and ends for the house, car, and clothes. We love shopping, but when shopping online, you have to take a few extra precautions. You wouldn’t leave your wallet laying around, so why would you be careless with how you buy online? Protect your money and your identity by having some extra awareness when you shop online.

  1. Look for the Lock: Most internet sites begin with https:// (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) settings now. This means that the data communicated between your server and the browser is encrypted to protect you from cyber criminals who are looking to steal your information. Look for the small lock symbol next to the URL that represents a secure connection.
  2. Use Trusted Sites: Don’t use random search engine results to find online goods. Go through trusted sites that have devoted money into security, such as Amazon. If something were to happy to your information from a data breach, there would be a great effort put in place to recover it, and prevent anything like that from happening again. Anyone can own a website, and you never know if you can trust their payment process. If you do use a new site, make sure that it has a secure payment method, like PayPal or Verified By Visa.
  3. Have Strong Passwords: Your pet’s name or your birthday are far too easy to guess. Experts say that passwords should be a combination of lower case and upper case letters, numbers, and symbols. They should be put together in a random order that isn’t part of any language. Also, use new and different combinations for other login credentials. If a hacker gets one of your passwords, at least the damage stops there. They aren’t able to access everything that you have because the passwords are different.
  4. Don’t Save Your Payment Methods: Many websites will offer you the service of saving your login and payment information. That does seem handy, but if you are being extra cautious online, it’s best not to. It only takes 2 minutes to input that data for a purchase. Spending those two extra minutes can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars in theft and identity theft issues.
  5. Buy With Trusted WiFi: Most businesses offer free WiFI to its customers. It’s excellent for fast streaming and saving data charges, but it can also leave you more vulnerable. A skilled cyber thief can download all of the data that you are sending over the WiFi to later use for their personal gain. If you do use public WiFI, keep it to something simple like social media or reading articles. Making purchases over an open WiFi is asking for trouble.
  6. Don’t Give Too Much Info: Don’t input your Social Security Number online to any business. If it is absolutely necessary to give it, call them and talk with a representative over the phone to see why it’s needed. It is safe to state it over the phone, but never input your SSN in an online forum. It’s too easy for a criminal to find, which could lead to identity theft.
  7. Check the Statement: Before and after you buy, look at the statement. Yes, we all typically look through the invoice before we push “Buy,” but very few of us look at the statement that is our receipt. Even fewer of us check the bank statement to make sure that all of the numbers match up. You want to double check what was taken out of the bank to make sure that everything is as it should be, and that there are no other fraudulent charges made against you.

You’ll be glad you followed all of these tips for staying safe online, when you look back and see little to no fraud. It’ll help you put stopgaps in place for when fraud does happen so you can catch it before it gets out of control. You work hard for your money–protect it.

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