When going shopping you would't go into a shady store without raising your eyebrow in regards to your safety; the same thought process needs to apply to your online purchases. Shopping with caution is a must, no matter where you are. There are several steps that you can take that will help you stay safe these holidays and keeping your confidential information just that, confidential.
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- Trust Your Gut - Don't shop at online stores that give you a bad feeling and appear shady.
- Check Your Credit Card Statement Often - Always use a credit card when shopping online. If you buy from a scam site using a debit card, check or cash, it can be much harder to get your money back.
- Don't Use Public Wi-Fi - Most Wi-Fi hotspots don't encrypt your data, so any hacker with the right software at your neighborhood Starbucks can pluck your identity out of the air.
- Change Your Password Regularly - To help keep your personally identifiable information safe it's essential to frequently change passwords. For example, change password to your important online accounts, such as online banking, every 90 days.
- Be careful on your mobile device - Most smart phones aren't equipped with anti-virus protection software. For this reason criminals have started to target mobile devices with malware designed to steal your important information.
- Use A Virtual Credit Card Number - Several banks offer a temporary credit card number that allows you to set an amount and time frame for a purchase so your real credit card number is still secret.
- Update Your Browser - Each new version of your internet browser gets a boost in security that hackers exploit.
- Don't Click on Links in Emails - Instead, type out the address in your browser to make sure you're going to the site you think you're visiting. Many phishing scams involve emails from what seem like legitimate sites and then send you to a phony site where they can gather your information to steal your identity.
- Browse to the HTTPS Url Rather Than HTTP - The added "S" means your information is being sent in an encrypted format.