The Internet has made holiday shopping easier than ever before. With just a few clicks, you can check everything off your list in no time – all without leaving the comfort of your home! Though online shopping can be quick and convenient, it’s also a space where scammers can gain access to your personal information if you aren’t careful. That’s why it’s important to know security tips for online holiday shopping.
To keep your hard-earned money safe from scams or fraud, it’s important to carefully safeguard your private information. Thankfully, you can stay cybersafe by following just a few simple guidelines. Here are our top tips for staying safe while shopping online:
Stick to Reputable Retailers
Found a deal that seems too good to be true? It can be hard to pass up a good offer, but it’s crucial to make sure that it’s coming from a safe and legitimate retailer before getting out your credit card. We recommend only buying from retailers you know and trust.
If you aren’t familiar with a seller, you should carefully research them before making a purchase. Read online reviews from previous customers, and search through the Better Business Bureau website for any complaints. If anything seems fishy, trust your instincts.
Don’t Shop on Public Wi-Fi
Free public Wi-Fi may seem like a convenient tool for online shopping. However, you never know who else is connected. Through unsecured Wi-Fi connections, hackers can spy on your activity and potentially steal information like your name, address, or credit card number. Only shop while connected to private and password-protected Wi-Fi, or while using a VPN.
Consider Using a VPN
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are tools that create encrypted connections between your computer and the server. While you’re connected to a VPN, hackers are not able to watch your online activity or intercept your private information.
Always Use Strong Passwords
A strong password can help keep potential hackers out of your accounts and private information. Here are some tips for creating strong passwords:
- Never reuse passwords
- Don’t use personal information in your password
- Avoid choosing words that are easy to guess
- Use numbers, symbols, and upper/lower case letters
- Use 12-16 (or more) characters
Pay With Credit, Not Debit
Credit cards are not directly connected to the money in your bank account, and many credit cards come with $0 liability for fraud. For these two reasons, it is much safer to make online purchases with a credit card instead of a debit card.
Keep Your Receipts
Once you make a purchase, print or save a copy of the transaction details. A receipt, confirmation number, and tracking number can all help you resolve issues quickly if your order gets lost or stolen. We also recommend tracking your packages so you know when to expect deliveries.
Watch Your Statements
While it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your statements, it’s extra important to stay up-to-date on account activity if you’ve been shopping online. Reading your statements each month, or even on a weekly basis, can help you catch and end fraudulent activity early.
Report Scammers & Cyberthieves
If you have been the victim of a scam or scam attempt, you can report the cyber thief to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center. Similarly, if you are worried that you may be the victim of identity theft, the Federal Trade Commission has an identity theft recovery plan that could help you out.
Security Tips for Online Holiday Shopping in Vancouver WA
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