The time of year spent with family, traveling, and shopping is upon us once again. With the holidays right around the corner, over 60% of Americans will be hopping online to buy and send their gifts. In the past five years alone online shopping has grown nearly 30%, with projections suggesting it may rise another 14% in the next few years.
|Infographic image credited to Trend Micro|
With more people relying on the convenience of online shopping for their purchases, it’s important to remember safe shopping practices and tips so that you don’t succumb to identity theft, fraud, or scams that are in abundance online. Follow these tips to ensure your privacy, information, and purchases are secure.
- Use a Secure Computer
Make sure you are using a secure internet connection and not sending private information out on public computers that could contain malware. Additionally, make sure that your anti-virus, operating system, and web browser have the latest versions and security patches installed.
- Research the Company/Website
Investigate any retailer before you make a purchase from them. With sites like Amazon that have many different users selling products on their site, be sure to check the seller's feedback and rating to make sure they’re legitimate and have left other customers with good experiences.
- Research the Product/Service
Do the prices seem amazing or too good to pass up? Oftentimes insane deals can indicate a counterfeit product or may contain links to malicious website. Bottom line: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- Use Strong Passwords
When creating an account on a site make sure to use a strong password to help protect your private information. Remember to never use the same password twice and to add special characters, upper and lower case letters, and numbers to create a secure password!
- Make Sure Purchases are made on Encrypted Sites
You’re ready to create your account or submit a payment, but does the websites address bar contain shttp, https. or a padlock in the web browser (typically in the address bar at the top or status bar at the bottom, depending on the site)? If not, the site might not be secure and it’s best to back away.
- Use a Secure Payment Method Credit cards are one of the safest options when submitting online payments with federal laws in place to protect your liability against credit card fraud. Be wary of anyone who insists upon cash or wire transfers only!
Extra Tip: Want to take it one step further? Find out if your bank or credit card issuer offers one-time use card numbers.
- Monitor Your Accounts
Make sure to keep track of all your purchases and account histories. Print out orders, receipts, email confirmations, and product descriptions to keep on hand if anything goes awry. Follow up purchases by monitoring your bank account and credit card statements to ensure unauthorized transactions don’t occur.
For More Information
RIT Information Security Safe Online Shopping & Banking
RIT Information Security How to Create a Secure Password
11 Tips for Safe Online Shopping
Online Shopping Scams
I’ll Never Fall for an Online Shopping Scam Ever Again