There’s no doubt that online shopping and banking have come leaps and bounds over the past decade, or even just over the last 5 years. Being able to take a picture of a check in order to deposit it, shopping for groceries from our living rooms, or even being able to find that perfect present last minute that your niece requested and having it gift wrapped and delivered straight to her from the convenience of your computer, smart phone or tablet is something some of us might have never imagined twenty years ago.
But despite the ease these processes bring us, they also, unfortunately, can open up the doors for the potential of online identity fraud and theft. However, there are some online safety measures you can take when shopping and banking online to prevent any of these issues from rearing their ugly head.
Using A Prepaid Gift Card. If you’re cautious about putting your credit card information online, there are other alternatives for smaller purchases. Prepaid gift cards that you can load with money ahead of time will still allow you the convenience of online shopping, without having to put your credit card information out into cyberspace.
Password Protection. While there are several apps and sites that allow you to keep track of all your passwords for you, it never hurts to have an actual hard copy of your passwords tucked away somewhere safe. And if you just have to have this information on your computer, make sure to put it into a password protected document only you can open.
Credit Only. Avoid any online purchases that ask for cash, checks or virtual cash payments only. Only do business with sites that accept credit cards and are secure.
Check Your Statements. Get into the habit of checking your online bank statements either through your bank’s website or through their mobile apps. By seeing your purchases and withdrawals in real time, you can verify that you approve all of those purchases. It’s one of the fastest ways to catch anything fishy.
8ki&0+#kYYd42@!dqoX. Do your passwords look like this, or are they just the name of your pet? Make sure to create a difficult password that is jumbled together with a wide range of upper case and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Make sure they are always longer than 8 characters.
Online Variety. Use different passwords for different accounts. If, unfortunately, one of your accounts gets hacked into, and you’re using the same passwords for several other online accounts, you never know who could have access to all your information. Make sure each password is different for each account, so that if only one gets hacked into, it stays at one.
By following these tips, you’re taking the steps necessary towards creating a more secure online presence. However, if in the event that your identity or credit card information is stolen, please report it to your bank immediately. Have a happy holiday season!
Image Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net, nokhoog buchachnon