Online shopping is big business these days, with more and more people across the world turning to the internet to shop. Unfortunately, this has caught the attention of cybercriminals who are keen to exploit individuals benefiting from the convenience, affordability and choice that makes the internet such a compelling place to shop.
With the holiday season about to get underway, we have put together ten tips on how to stay safe and secure when shopping online.
1. Use Familiar Websites - Start at a trusted site rather than shopping with a search engine. Search results can be rigged to lead you astray, especially when you drift past the first few pages of links. Beware of misspellings or sites using a different top-level domain, such as .net instead of .com.
2. Look for the Lock - Never buy anything online using your credit card from a site that doesn't have SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption installed. You'll know if the site has SSL because the URL for the site will start with HTTPS:// (instead of just HTTP://).
3. Value & Protect Your Personal Information - When making a purchase online, be alert to the kinds of information being collected to complete the transaction. Make sure you think it is necessary for the vendor to request that information. And never give anyone your credit card over email.
4 - Use Safe Payment Options - Credit cards are generally the safest option because they allow buyers to seek a credit from the issuer if the product isn’t delivered or isn’t what was ordered.
5 - Get Savvy about Wi-Fi Hotspots - Limit the type of business you conduct over open public Wi-Fi connections, including logging on to key accounts, such as email and banking. Adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your phone.
6 - Unique Account, Unique Strong Password - Having separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cybercriminals. At a minimum, separate your work and personal accounts and make sure that your critical accounts have the strongest passwords.
7 - Get Two Steps Ahead - Turn on two-step authentication – also known as two-step verification or multi-factor authentication – on accounts where available. Two-factor authentication can use anything from a text message to your phone to a token to a biometric like your fingerprint to provide enhanced account security.
8 - Keep Your Machines Clean - Keep all web-connected devices – including PCs, smartphones and tablets – free from malware and infections by running only the most current versions of software and apps.
9 - Know What's Too Good to be True - There are plenty of scams looking to hook you in with tempting offers. In some cases, the perpetrators are looking to simply infect your device. The more reliable the brand and the more secure the URL, the more likely it is that it’s authentic. If not, then walk away.
10 - Check Transactions - Go online regularly during the holiday season and look at transactions for your credit card, debit card, and checking accounts to see if there is any fraudulent activity.
If you're not already signed up for e-Statements, do so. These are securely delivered to your online banking account, not your mailbox where they can easily be stolen. Remember to shred any paper correspondence that contains sensitive information.
If you do see fraudulent activity on any of your accounts, contact all financial institutions and report possible account compromise. Request for Account Password/Passphrase to be set up for all account activities.
While you are shopping this holiday season, know that Weber State Credit Union is dedicated to safety. We currently use every precaution available to protect your accounts and information. Don't hesitate to turn to us for help if you do experience any breach of information safety.