Safety Tips For Online Shopping

More and more of us have been using smartphones and tablets to make online purchases. Using these simple tips and practices while you shop online to protect your personal data.

Keep your machine clean. Before you start shopping, make sure that all of your internet-connected devices (PC, smartphones, tablets, etc) are free from malware. Update your devices so they are all running only the most current versions of software, browsers and other apps.

Use secure Wi-fi. Free public Wi-Fi can be convenient, but it is not cyber-safe. Instead of making purchases while connected to a public Wi-fi network, use a VPN (virtual private network) or set up your phone as a hotspot.

Use secure passwords. Create long, complex, unique passwords for all your accounts and devices. Ensure that no one is looking over your shoulder if you are entering passwords or other personal information in public.

Use MFA (multi-factor authentication) whenever possible. MFA enables the strongest authentication tools available to fortify your accounts, such as biometrics or unique one-time codes sent to your phone.

Resist the urge. Be wary of any offers you receive that sound too good to be true. Phishing attempts can include extremely tempting offers to tempt you to enter your personal information. Only make purchases from trusted and established online retailers and avoid websites of retailers you’ve never heard of.

Think before you click. When you receive an email, pay attention to make sure you recognize the sender. Do not open emails from senders you do not recognize or click on links in suspicious messages. If you want to verify a link before you click, hover your mouse to see the link preview. Whenever possible, type the address of the page you wish to visit directly into your browser.

Shop securely. Make sure your internet connection is secure. Verify that you are shopping on a site that uses SSL protection. Look for https:// in the URL in the address bar. Sites without the “s” are not safe to enter personal or payment-related information.

Pay wisely. Use a credit card or pre-paid debit card linked to your bank account. Otherwise, opt for using a reliable and established third-party service, such as Google Pay or Apple Pay.

Monitor your accounts. Check your online financial accounts for suspicious spending regularly, and immediately report any unrecognized charges. Take advantage of text and email alerting services offered by many banks and credit card companies.