How to make sure your information is safe when you shop online

By FCT

Last week, we talked about common cyber threats. By simply being online, you’re exposed to these threats; imagine the risks when you shop online with your credit card too!

Here are some measures that you can take to make sure you’re protected:

Watch where you shop

There are tons of sites on the internet with too-good-to-be-true prices; it’s a good practice to check reviews and find out if other customers have been scammed (or if the low price matches the quality of the products). There are lots of offers on social media luring people to these sites and although their model is not to steal your credit details, the products they sell don’t deliver the quality they promise.

Find out if the website has a legitimate mailing address and phone number; if you have never shopped the site before, it’s not an extension of a real “bricks and mortar” store or it looks suspicious and you can’t get someone on the phone, you may be shopping on a fake website.

You don’t want to share your credit card information with just anyone so make sure you know where you are shopping before giving your credit details. Sites that have “https” in the url instead of just “http”, indicates they are using secure connection but this does not guarantee they are legitimate sites. Never shop on a site that only has “http” as your personal details are visible to anyone watching. In general, it’s a safer bet to stick to known and trusted brands when shopping online.

You should also be careful of sharing your credit card information over public wi-fi. Criminals could access and steal your data over a shared network like this.

Stay up-to-date

It may seem like a bit of a hassle to apply all those updates to your software and devices, but updates often address security gaps that cyber criminals use to steal your data or access your systems. Make sure all your operating systems, applications and anti-virus software are always current. To stay on top of all the updates, when installing an app, enable automatic updates whenever possible, and check for updates routinely.

Double check your email

You could receive a phishing email that looks like it comes from a company you trust—usually a bank or sometimes a store and maybe even a known connection. Before you click any links in the email, hover over the sender’s email address and any other links and try to confirm they are legitimate.

Don’t save your payment information

You may have seen the news about companies experiencing data breaches over the past few years. While it’s a lot more convenient to save your payment information on company websites when you’re shopping online, it’s much safer not to do that. If you do prefer to save your information online, consider using a payment service like PayPal which stores the sensitive data at one company and not all over the internet.

It’s also better to use credit over debit for online payments so even if criminals access your information, they won’t have direct access to your bank accounts and any fraud is then subject to the terms of the credit service.

What measures do you take to shop online safely?

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