In light of the holiday shopping season it is the best time of year to protect yourself online. Shopping in online stores offers a great incentive to making the most of your time and budget. However, if you fall victim to fraudulent activity you stand to lose much more than the money and time saved while shopping from home. Avoid having your personal information compromised by following these tips.
Security is Key
Whenever you are shopping online, make certain the store checkout web page is secure. To do this, look at the web address. If it reads “https” then it is a secure page. No “s,” then don’t make a purchase. Also, avoid saving your credit card number or banking account number on online shops. Even though this is convenient for shoppers who frequent particular sites, it puts you at great risk in the event that the site is hacked.
If you are asked to sign up with a personalized profile using a password, always choose a password that is difficult to figure out. PASSWORD, 12345 and QWERTY are to be avoided at all costs as these are the most common passwords on the web. Also, make sure to sign out of websites after you have finished browsing or shopping, and always clear out cookies and your browsing history after a shopping spree.
Know Your Seller
Purchasing items that are secondhand or from third party vendors creates an increased risk of receiving counterfeit goods. This is also possible when purchasing used items from auction sites. If you are purchasing secondhand or used items, purchase these through a secure site, such as Ebay or Amazon. This adds a buffer of protection in case the seller decides not to ship the item while taking your money.
Also, note the return and guarantee policies of the seller to ensure you can make returns if the product does not meet the standards noted when you made the purchase. If you discover you are purchasing counterfeit items, such as womens’ designer purses or jewelry, contact the authorities in your area to report such activity. Report the vendor if using a third party site to the BBB, if possible, and also alert other customers via the business’s social media profiles.
Safety Beyond Shopping Sites
Online shopping is not the only place where you can encounter identify theft. Anywhere that you enter personal information, such as online dating, gaming or social media sites, puts you at risk. Make sure to follow precautions in order to protect your identity. Start by checking the privacy settings on your account to ensure other users cannot easily access certain information. You can also increase the level of security by avoiding adding personal information to these accounts. Similar to the importance of protecting your assets with services like Houston security monitoring, it’s just as vital to protect your identity.
For instance, never upload photos or images of yourself unless it is an absolute requirement as these photos can easily be stolen to be used for fake IDs using your personal information. Additionally, avoid adding your contact information including address, phone number and email address to these accounts. Only give out this information on a case by case basis when you are fully confident that the other party is legit. Finally, delete any inactive accounts, such as on dating sites and social media, so that your personal information is not so freely accessible.