Are You Shopping Safe?
Shopping can be unsafe when your shopping in stores or online. Around the holidays, the amount of shopping increases more than any other time of the year, making it a prime season for criminals to target you. There are safety measures you can take to safeguard holiday shopping.
- Look for the installation of an SSL.
You may have noticed that there are little pad lock icons in front of the url of many sites you visit these days. This means the site has an SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption installed. The URL will also have HTTPS versus http: in front. An SSL encryption is a level of security and is a must if you intend on purchasing from this site.
- Use Strong Passwords
Some stores offer the ability to create accounts so you can save your information and make for quick checkout on your next purchase. If the site has an SSL and is a trusted source, its typically safe to move forward, but it’s very important for you to create a strong password. See more on strong passwords in our article, “Build better passwords”.
- TMI (Too Much Information)
Always be suspicious of sites requesting more information than necessary to complete your purchase. NEVER insert your social security number. If sites require* you to make a login to purchase merchandise, this too is reason to use caution.
- Monitor Bank and Credit Statements
This advice is extremely important for business and personal use alike. The best way to detect fraud or stolen accounts is to check your statements regularly. The sooner action is taken, the less damage can be done.
- Private WIFI Only
By now, this one should go without saying. Shopping or conducting business of any kind is never okay to do over public WIFI. Public WIFI is just as it sounds. Everyone can gain access and the right, or in this case wrong, people can easily hack your device and see everything you are seeing on your screen. This could be your social accounts, bank accounts, credit card statements or numbers etc.
- Browser Add-On
Another safety measure you may want to consider is a browser add on that acts as a basic password manager and keeps you safe. It allows you to show without actually revealing anything about you or your business including email addresses, phone numbers and card numbers. Last Pass is one that comes highly recommended and is reasonably priced.
These are a few basic measures you can take to keep yourself and your company or family safe while shopping. In the off chance you are hacked, or you discover a fraudulent business, always report and review. The best way to remove them from the web is to report what is happening. Review on third party sites so they can be easily found and are not easy to have removed. It’s also recommended to report to the Federal Trade Commission and your states attorney general.