• Monday, November 25, 2019
  • Posted by dgriffitts

Year after year, it seems like more shoppers are opting to do their holiday gift buying online. And it makes sense—why fight the crowds when you can shop from the comfort of your own couch? Technology has made online shopping a breeze, but it doesn’t come without risks. Here are a few simple tips and tricks to protect yourself and shop safely this season.

  • Use strong passwords
    • You know that one password you’ve been using for years and just changing the last few numbers? Yeah, it’s time to create a new one. We know you’ve heard this advice before, but trust us, using strong and unique passwords is a simple way to add a layer of protection to all of your accounts.  
  • Do not give out sensitive personal information
    • Legit retailers will never ask for your social security number. Trust your gut with this one; if you’re being asked to provide personal details that you’re not comfortable giving—don’t.
  • Avoid making purchases while using free/public Wi-Fi
    • Remember what we said earlier about shopping from the comfort of your own home? Try to stick to that. Or, at least shop on a secure network. The risk of data interception is much higher when you’re on public Wi-Fi, such as at an airport, coffee shop or library.
  • Pay for purchases with a credit card when possible
    • Plain and simple: you have better liability protection when paying with a credit card.
    • Bonus tip: it’s best to avoid saving your payment information within online accounts. Sure, storing it is super convenient for the next time you log in to make a purchase, but it also makes your personal data vulnerable to identity thieves and hackers.
  • Ship merchandise to a secure location
    • Beware of porch pirates! If you won’t be home during delivery, try finding an alternative location that’s safe and secure. Depending on the retailer, you may be able to get your package delivered directly to the store for pick-up, or at one of their shipping lockers.
  • After purchasing, monitor your accounts closely
    • Online and mobile banking are great tools that can be used to monitor your account activity in a safe and convenient way. You may also be able to set-up customized alerts. So, if your account falls below a certain balance or an external transfer is made, you’ll be notified right away.