Chances are that you will be doing some online shopping this holiday season. Before surfing the Internet for all of your favorite holiday must-haves and bargains, take into consideration a handful of smart and safe tips and your season (I promise you) will be a little or a lot brighter. You have important password codes, private information and financial assets that need protecting, so keeping that in the forefront of your mind is going to help save you a lot of grief.
With some help from Melissa Maypole, the Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Qustodio I came up with some tips for safe shopping online this holiday season and beyond:
1) Be sure to shop from a secure website, not a free WiFi hotspot from a hotel, restaurant, etc.This means it is a great time to secure your computer from viruses or other malicious codes, as attacker can gain access to your computer and all of the information on it. It is also important for vendors to protect their computers to prevent attackers from accessing customer databases. Updating your security software is a good idea this time of year, too.
2) Never use a debit card online.Another savvy pointer Maypole added was, “As for checking out with a credit card versus a debit card, it’s preferable because your credit card company will likely reimburse you if you don’t receive the items you paid for. You don’t have that same level of protection with a debit card.”
3) Beware of “bargains” from websites that you are unsure of or have never heard of.Some things seem too good to be true, and that is because they are! So, use secure websites for purchases.
4) Keep your password secure!Take the time to invest in updating your security information, as you want to have a safeguard in case you forget your password. Be sure you use different passwords for different email addresses and make sure they are not easy to guess.
5) Shop as a guest rather than creating an account, which saves your billing and payment information.Maypole shared some great tips on this note: “This way online shopping is safer because when you create an account (as many people do to save time next time they shop),you’re giving the site permission to save your personal information, including sensitive financial information, on its server. Even the most reputable sites are vulnerable to attacks from hackers, and if the site does get hacked, then your information could fall into the wrong hands!”
I could not agree more!