With the holidays quickly approaching, you’re likely gathering your list of gifts to purchase and like many of us you probably are planning to purchase most of your items online this year. This is a great way to save time and often money, but there are a variety of security risks that you need to keep in mind. In 2018, holiday spending online reached almost $120 billion dollars, which shows just how many of us are making purchases from the comforts of our own homes. At Unified Network Group, we thought it would be a good time to discuss some key tips to help you stay safe while shopping online this holiday season.
Tips to Stay Safe When Shopping Online
Below are just a few tips that should help you protect yourself and your finances when shopping online this holiday season.
- Don’t Use Public Wi-Fi if You Plan to Make Purchases – Beware of public Wi-Fi hotspots if you’re planning to shop online. These locations are ripe with potential hackers because these unsecured networks in public places are often not encrypted. Do yourself a favor and just wait until you get home to make any online purchases.
- Check Your Credit Card Statement – It’s important to constantly check your credit card statement for fraudulent charges. Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, credit card companies must reimburse you for these charges, but it’s important that you contact the credit card company to dispute these charges as soon as possible after they happen.
- Ensure Your Connection is Secure – Different browsers have various ways of alerting you to a site that’s not secure, but the bottom line is that you want to be purchasing items online from a site that uses a secure connection. You’ll often see a message in your address bar that says something like “Not Secure” if you’re on a website that isn’t properly encrypted. You can also look out for a padlock in the address bar which is a sign that a website is secure.
- Change Your Passwords Regularly – While it’s a pain to do so, it’s really important to change your passwords every few months. Also, do not use the same password for every site. This helps to ensure that if a hacker were to gain access to one of your passwords there is only so much damage that could be done. There are password managers such as LastPass that make the management and generation of complex passwords fairly seamless.
Happy Shopping Online This Holiday Season!
Shopping online is a major convenience, but it’s something that should be done safely and securely. If you have any additional questions about ways to stay safe when shopping online, feel free to reach out to the Unified Network Group team today by phone at 864-278-0202.