Staying Secure While You Shop

Person making payment with smartphone

The internet makes it easy to get exactly what you need, when you want it, without the hassle of running to the store. Along with convenience, online shopping can also make it easier for hackers to gain access to your financial information.

Knowing what security features to look for as you shop online can save you time and energy undoing hundreds of dollars in unauthorized charges. Before you make your next online purchase, read the four ways you can improve your shopping security today.

Website Security

There are several telltale signs that you are shopping on a secure website. The first sign is an encryption certificate, usually displayed as a small padlock or unbroken key emblem at the bottom of the website. Encryption is a data-scrambling technology that is put in place to protect your financial information when you make a transaction.

When you are checking out and about to enter your card information, the web address at the top bar should also start with “https://” rather than just “http://”. This is another sign that the site you are shopping on has encryption and secured their payment portal.

Websites that don’t feature these two security measures are not worthy of your money. They will leave your transaction at risk for identity theft and future fraud.

Card Calculations

If you spot fraud or an inaccurate transaction on your debit card, let us know right away! The sooner you make your bank or credit card Company aware of fraud, the better off you will be. Set up text or email alerts for all of your credit and debit cards to get notified of any new purchases. These alerts will allow you to immediately spot fraud.

If you choose not to receive text or email alerts, stay alert on your account activity by checking your recent transactions online at least once a week. This will allow you to not only understand where your money is going, but it will also give you an opportunity to spot erroneous charges. Many hackers assume that you will notice large charges, so keep an eye out for small charges closer to $20 that thieves hope will go unnoticed.

Mobile Misdirection

When you are shopping on your mobile phone, be sure to avoid any unsecure wireless networks. Public and free Wi-Fi networks can greatly increase your risk for hackers accessing your information. Even networks that sound legitimate like “Complimentary Wi-Fi” may be a fake network set up by a hacker.

Stick to your data plan when shopping from your mobile phone or your password protected home wireless network.

If you need to shop while on the go, stick to using the store’s app instead of your phone’s browser. Apps for sites like Amazon typically have an extra layer of security and encryption, making them safer to use in public.

Proactive Passwords

Personal information leaks have been dominating the headlines in recent years. Many times, the leak consists of the login information for your email account or favorite online shopping retailer. When hackers purchase this information, they may try to use the same email addresses and corresponding passwords at major bank sites as well.

Make sure you are selecting different passwords for all of your important accounts. Also, select a time each year to reset these passwords to make them less likely to fall into criminal hands. This is especially important for shopping websites where you may store your payment information to make purchases easier.

Taking a little time to add a few extra levels of security to your online shopping can help stop fraudulent activity on your accounts and reduce your risk of identity theft. Don’t get stuck trying to remove false charges from your account. Start increasing your online security today.

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Staying Secure While You Shop