Tis the season to shop till you drop! The average amount of money that Americans plan on spending during the 2019 holiday season is $1,007. A majority of that shopping usually happens online from the comfort of our own homes. But, do you know how cyber safe you are while online shopping? Or how secure your Internet connection is? There are some things to consider before you enter those credit card digits, so read through some of our cyber safety tips below.
Use Credit Instead of Debit
Since credit cards are not connected to your personal bank accounts (savings, etc.) it’s important to place your debit card to the wayside for online purchases. Credit cards allow you to charge money and then pay it off later, therefore you have the chance to dispute any suspicious purchases. Checking credit card statements is one of the best ways to see if miscellaneous charges were made or if any criminal activity is going on. Most credit card companies are patrolling your account for anything that might look like cyber crime and will notify you of anything strange. Managing your money around the holidays is so important when you start to purchase decor and other holiday gifts and items.
Use a Private Network
While shopping online, it’s crucial to be sure your Internet connection is also safe from any cyber threats. But, how do you do this? Find a VPN service that fits you and your devices’ needs and start from there. A virtual private network creates a private network from a public Internet connection. Once downloaded and in-use, your online browsing and IP address will remain private and away from any other users who might be hacking into the public network. A lot of public places have free Wi-Fi, which usually means not all security measures are in place, so think twice before you start your online shopping while sitting in a coffee shop.
Do Some Research
The holiday season is a great excuse for cyber-criminals to trick unsuspecting customers into falling for fake deals, coupons, emails, etc. Be cautious when ordering from a website you’ve never ordered from before. Browse their social media, read reviews, ask friends and family, and do your research to further legitimize the company/brand. If the website has “https:” in the beginning of the URL, then it is a secure website with security measures in place. If it doesn’t show “https:” or the locked padlock symbol then approach the site with caution. Examine what information the site is asking from you – it should only be payment information and a shipping address.
Use these tips as a holiday shopping guide to stay safe online, no matter what. Share with friends and family to ensure everyone has a safe and happy holiday season.
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