7 Ways to shop safely online

By: Nov 15, 2013
7 Ways to shop safely online

Kick identity thieves to the curb with these tips!

Thieves and fraudulent characters are always looking to take advantage of the unsuspecting consumer. Novice errors while shopping online can lead to problems and headaches you don’t want to deal with. Below are seven ways you can protect yourself from vulnerability while shopping online. Stay safe and always keep informed.

1. Avoid peculiar sites
This seems obvious, right? It can be difficult to tell which site is legitimate and which site is not. Go with your gut and look for obvious red flags, such as poor design, multiple annoying pop-up windows that are difficult to close, and peculiar web
addresses. If something doesn’t feel right, it most likely is not. Close your browser and back away quickly from the shopping site.

2. Only shop on secure websites
When shopping on websites, look for web addresses that start with https, rather than http. It is critical to make sure your anti-virus software is current. When checking out and entering confidential information, like name and address or credit
card numbers, glance up at the web address to make sure the site is secure.

3. Periodically change your passwords
Been using the same password since you first got Internet service back in the early 90s? It’s time to change things up a bit. Keep careful track of your passwords on a secure document and change them periodically. Online stores often save your credit card information and by changing passwords you can prevent virtual onlookers from tracking your private information down.

4. Never enter your social insurance number
Never enter numbers that are critical to your identity. This includes your social insurance number or driver’s license information. No site will ever ask for your social insurance number – remember this.

5. Know your rights
If you haven’t received your merchandise in a timely manner, you can cancel the order and expect a refund. The Better Business Bureau is there to protect your rights and consumers have more rights than they are often aware of. If the packaging is damaged upon receipt, reject the merchandise and report it as defective.

6. Avoid giving information to strangers
This may seem a bit childlike, but you’d be surprised how many people give out private information in social media circles. Ignore strangers that send threatening messages or ask for banking information via email or Facebook. Fraudsters are often guilty of malicious emails that get you talking. Avoid them at all costs.

7. Avoid public Wi-Fi access
The last place you want to shop online is at the coffee shop using their free Wi-Fi service. Public access to Wi-Fi is extremely convenient, but can leave your private information highly accessible to hackers. Avoid entering any passwords or financial information at any public hotspot. Doing so may result in an identity theft and excessive credit card charges that you didn’t make.