Shop secure sites

One of the easiest ways to know you are shopping securely online is to shop only at reputable websites. Shop websites you know and are familiar with and do the following:

  • Verify the address - hackers will use URLs that are very close to the real site but not the same - look for misspellings and whether it has a padlock icon on the address bar. Use Google to see if the search engine takes you to the same address.
  • Click on the padlock on the address bar - look at the drop-down menu to see if it has a valid SSL certificate and whether your information is safe when sent to this site.
  • If you are intent on buying from an unknown site, analyze the overall look of the website, check their social media presence, and read reviews from Google, Amazon or Yelp or the Better Business Bureau.

Use a secure network

Avoid shopping on public networks where security is unknown, or you are on an open network. If you are on a public Wi-Fi network, save your shopping list and wait until you are using a secure network to check out. Best practice would be to use a secure Wi-Fi connection, especially when entering payment information.

Don’t click on advertising links

If it looks too good to be true, it probably is! Don’t click on any links either in email marketing promotions or through social media advertisements. If you are tempted to click, do a quick internet search beforehand to see if you can validate the website or promotion.

Avoid using debit cards

Using credit cards or payment services such as Apple Pay or Google Pay add an extra layer of security when online shopping. Mobile payment services generate a one-time code for the purchase that no one can steal or use again. Debit cards offer less protection than credit cards against fraud - and remember, the funds are debited directly from your checking or savings account. If a bad actor gets a hold of the account number, it is not just that one purchase that is at risk but your bank account that is exposed.

Review your statement

After all the fun is said and done, review your statements and ensure no additional fees were added or additional transactions were charged to your account.

Take advantage of the holiday deals in the next few days but make sure you are not the one being taken advantage of.

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