For online purchases during the holidays, be cautious about the companies you do business with and take steps to secure your transactions:
- Immediately install updates to operating system, anti-virus/anti-malware and computer software as they become available. This will ensure that you have the latest patches needed to address security vulnerabilities and fix bugs.
- Be careful about what you click on. Links to shopping websites included in emails, ads, texts and social media may contain malware.
- Research the companies you are doing business with by checking the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org) website as well as online reviews.
- If you maintain an online account with a retail store, establish unique passwords and consider employing additional security measures such as two-factor authentication where possible. Only provide the information required to set up the account and no more.
- Before entering any personal or financial information, check that the company’s website address begins with “https” and shows a padlock icon. This ensures your connection with the site is encrypted and secure. If your browser displays a green lock bar with the company name, this indicates that the authenticity and ownership of the website has been verified.
- To be safe, do not enter into financial transactions using public Wi-Fi. If you must do so, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
- Use a credit card instead of debit card for online purchases. There are more protections for credit card transactions. You will be in a better position if you can identify and dispute fraud before funds are deducted from your bank account.
- Review your credit card transactions on a regular basis.
For more information about online shopping safety, visit https://staysafeonline.org