Whether you’re ready or not, the holiday shopping season is upon us! From Black Friday to the Day after Christmas sale, it’s predicted that U.S. online sales will exceed $61 billion in November and December. However, with cyber threats on the rise, when it comes to online shopping how secure do you feel? Follow these three tips to safe and secure online shopping.
1. Browse with HTTPS only.
Most people don’t tend to look at an entire URL these days. Our internet browsers are becoming smarter and are anticipating our intended sites. It remembers our most frequented sites and offers up suggestions based on letters you type in. With such a convenience, why would anyone stop and read the full URL? Well, you should. The “S” in “HTTPS” actually stands for secure. Whenever you’re prompted for personal information (e.g. name, address, credit card info, or social security number) make sure you see “HTTPS” before hitting “complete order” when online shopping. Even though the site may look trustworthy, it might just be a well crafted duplicate intended to steal your identity.
2. Choose a strong password.
Raise your hand if you use the same password everywhere. I was guilty of this, too, before I found a way to be smart about it. I created a security formula consisting of letters (both lower and uppercase), numbers and symbols. Whenever I’m asked to create a username and password, I use some variation of this formula. And, it just so happens, this formula is often encouraged or required by most secure ecommerce sites. If you’re worried about not remembering all of your passwords, most websites have a way to safely reset your password; although, you may have to remember your high school mascot or color of your first car, first.
3. Make sure you log out.
While this might seem inconvenient, for your security, make sure you log out each and every time. We’ve all experienced the embarrassing moment when a friend posts something, on our behalf, on Facebook. Now imagine it being that easy for identity thieves to hop into your account and steal your personal information. Protect your identity and security of your password, by logging out. On one hand, with online shopping on the rise, it seems easy and natural to follow the trend. On the other hand, however, it seems harder than ever to protect your security. If you take the time to research ecommerce sites before you visit, you could save yourself the trouble of contracting a virus. To protect your security online, make sure you are shopping on secure sites, creating strong passwords and logging yourself out. Don’t become a statistic this holiday season. How do you stay secure when online shopping?