Shopping Online Safely
The number of online shoppers in the United States is projected to surpass 200 million in 2015. The ease and convenience of shopping from just about anywhere, avoiding crowds and not having to find a place to park are just a few things that make shopping on a retailer’s website an attractive option. However, with convenience comes caution. Concerns about payment data security and other personal information makes some consumers shy about conducting their shopping via the internet. The following tips, if practiced, can bring about a sense of security while conducting online transactions: Take steps to shop safely 1. Be Choosy. Don’t click indiscriminately on a link that you find in an unsolicited email or pop-up advertisement. Choose only well-known websites that have an address that starts with “https” when you get to the point of providing your payment information during the purchase process. 2. Be Precise. When navigating to a particular retailer’s website, make sure you have the exact web address. Some thieves have purchased website names that are very similar to a reputable website with the hopes that shoppers will find the fraudulent website instead. Trying to shop on the fraudulent site could lead to theft of personal information or not getting what you think you are purchasing. 3. Be Skeptical. Did you find some fantastic deal that you haven’t seen anywhere else? Beware! Ads for the season’s “hot” item, especially at a ridiculously good price, could actually be a scheme to get you to click on a link or approve a download that brings with it a virus or other trouble. 4. Be Unique. It is dangerous to use the same password for all of your online accounts. Why? If one of the accounts you access online is breached, the unauthorized intruder might acquire your password. They can then try to use the same password on other sites you use which might include other shopping sites or your checking account or credit card accounts. Use different passwords for each of your online accounts. 5. Be Thorough. Keep a record of all your purchases and the websites where each purchase was made. Save receipts, confirmation email messages, etc. Make note of how you paid for each item and then check the account to make sure only the authorized charge went through.