More and more, consumers are doing their shopping online. With remote shopping growing in popularity, so does the rise of criminals taking advantage of consumers. Thankfully, there are ways you can be confident your online purchases are protected, which is especially important during this holiday season.
Make sure your browser is up to date.
Always update to the most current version of your browser. By doing this, the vulnerabilities in previous versions are likely to have been identified and patched.
Be sure you’re familiar with the retailer.
We’re familiar with big brands like Amazon and Walmart. However, if you’ve just stumbled across a retailer for the first time or shopping from independent artists or small businesses (as we are too!), run a search of the company’s name in Google. You should find reviews and an indication that they have a real location.
Check that the website is secure and encrypted.
When it’s time to check out, there are two things you should see:
- The web address will now begin with HTTPS instead of HTTP.
- And, there should be an image of a lock next to the URL in the top left corner.
These are the signs that the website encrypts all financial info for your security.
Never provide your card information via email.
Every legitimate business selling products or services online utilizes a secure online process to do so. This process never involves soliciting your card information via email. If they’re worth doing business with, they’ll only ask for your business through a secure online form.
Learn to spot phishing attempts and questionable deals.
During the holiday season, you may receive emails advertising unbelievably great deals. Beware because these could be phishing attempts. Be wary of email links that direct you to bogus websites designed to capture your personal information.
Have your guard up for emails and text messages advertising holiday deals — are they too good to be true? Although spam emails can seem harmless, avoid clicking on links and downloading files from any unknown sources. Phishing emails and websites often contain typos or spelling and grammatical mistakes. If you receive an email requesting “verification” of your confidential information, don’t interact with it.
Don’t shop on public WiFi hotspots.
The increasing availability of free WiFi at a wide range of locations is for our convenience. The downside is, it makes it easier for hackers to monitor and steal private information. You can decrease the risks of using public systems by doing your shopping from home. (Shopping from home? Don’t mind if we do!)
You can also use Norton Safe Web, a free online tool that can help identify risky websites as you shop!
While online shopping this season isn’t something to be scared of, it’s critical to remain vigilant. For more tips about staying safe online and defending yourself against scams, check out our blog for more information: