Online shopping is a fun and convenient way to make purchases, locate hard-to-ﬁnd items, and discover bargains, but it does come with some level of risk.
- Don’t shop at a site if you’re not comfortable—If you feel that the site may not be secure, you’re probably right.
- Never click on links from spam emails to make purchases—Don’t click on a link in an email from someone you don’t know, or buy on a site advertised in a spam email.
- Check the web address to make sure you are on the correct website—Once you arrive at a site, you need to make sure that it is legitimate and not a fake site.
- Check that the site is secure—Look for a security seal, such as the McAfee SECURE™ trustmark, indicating that the site has been scanned and veriﬁed as secure by a trusted third party. This security seal indicates that the site will help protect you from identity theft, credit card fraud, spam, and other malicious threats.
- In addition, check to see if the site uses encryption—or scrambling—when transmitting information over the Internet by looking for a lock symbol on the page and checking to make sure that the web address starts with https:// instead of http://, which indicates that encryption is being used.
- Use a credit card for payment—Credit cards on the whole offer better protection against fraud than debit cards.
- Do not use a public computer to shop online—If you are using a public computer, strangers may be able to access your browsing history and even your login information. To protect yourself, do all of your online shopping from your secure home computer.
- Only use a secure connection when you place your order—Never shop using an unsecured wireless network because hackers can access your payment information if the network is not protected.
- You also want to make sure that your computer is protected with comprehensive and up-to-date security software, which will safeguard you from viruses, spyware, and other unknown online threats.
- Use strong passwords—Choose passwords that are difficult to guess and that are at least ten characters long consisting of a combination of numbers, letters, and symbols.
- Keep a paper trail—Keep a copy of your order number and receipt, and note which credit card you used. When you receive your credit card statement, review it to make sure that the charge placed on your card is correct and that there are no extra fees or charges.
- Inspect your purchase as soon as you receive it—Make sure that the product you received is correct and is not damaged. If you have to return or exchange an item, do it quickly so you do not exceed any return restrictions.
Robert Siciliano is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked! See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video.