During the holidays and many other times during the year many of us will elect to shop online. While it can be a convenient option there are those who may take advantage. Technology changes fast and hackers and spammers are always coming up with new and inventive ways to infiltrate our lives and possibly steal our credit cards numbers and/or identity. Although I have posted tips similar to these here is a quick refresher course.
Update your anti-virus software
Before hopping on your computer and clicking your mouse check that your security software is up to date. There are many free programs such as AVAST and ZoneAlarm, that can firewall and guard your computer against viruses. Installing anti-malware applications may not provide 100 percent protection but it is one of the most basic ways of forestalling cybercriminals.
Use Reputable Websites
When shopping from a lesser-known companies make sure that the web address begins with https:// and check for a padlock icon in the URL bar, which signifies that the site is SSL-secured. Secure Sockets Layers (SSL) encrypts sensitive information for online transactions, which stops hackers from stealing your private info. Also, clicking on the padlock symbol can verify that the site’s certificate is current.
Keeping things Simple
Many of us want to be financially responsible and avoid debt in the upcoming year by using our debit cards, but using a credit card for online shopping is a safer bet. They allow you to dispute fraudulent charges and they offer an added layer of protection that doesn’t come when using your debit card. Also, try to limit use to one credit card it will make things easier when keeping track of purchases that you have made. But be extra cautious when using sites that do not require your CCV or CC2 number.
A Dose of Common sense
It cannot stressed enough the importance of logging out when using a public computer for your online transactions. Be vigilant and uncheck all boxes that ask if you want to store your password for future use. Do not make your password something simple. Keep that complicated by using uppercase letters, numbers and symbols. As well using being able to use your Wi-Fi enabled mobile devices is great but try not to make purchases from them at your local coffee shop. That is generally not a secure line.