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5 Quick Tips for Safe Online Shopping

Billions of dollars will be spent online this December Holiday shopping season and unfortunately, there are those that will be looking to steal some of it. Make sure you’re not a victim.

Online shopping (via websites or mobile apps) is the medium of choice for several reasons. The bargains are there, the selection is mind-boggling, the shopping is secure and shipping is available. Shopping has never been easier or more convenient for consumers.

But what about the criminals who operate in cyberspace attempting to steal your credit card info and personal information? Here are five simple strategies for staying safe while shopping online this holiday season:

1. Check for the “S” in “HTTPS”

Make sure any website you shop on includes “https” in the URL address.
That extra “s” is an important one – it stands for secure, which means any data routed

through that site has an extra layer of security added to it through a secure socket layer (SSL) or transport layer security (TLS) protocol connection.

2. Use Credit Cards instead of Debit Cards

Credit cards offer extra layers of security as well. Enhanced fraud monitoring, dispute procedures, and other protections come built into most credit accounts, not to mention the extra points and rewards you could earn by spreading out holiday spending on a credit card.
But the most basic safety mechanism here is that a credit card charge doesn’t come directly out of your bank account like a debit card charge does. In the event of a hack or breach, that can be a lifesaver.

 3. Be choosy about Mobile Apps

Vet any shopping apps by visiting a retailer’s website and reading reviews and ratings.

If you see an app for a brand you like in the Apple or Android app stores, don’t just download it blindly –  visit the retailer’s website first to verify the app and then follow the link to its correct source.
Also if the app looks fishy, chances are that it will have negative reviews from people who have downloaded the app before. If there are no reviews, beware – a good rule of thumb is “Don’t be the app guinea pig”.

4. Avoid giving out too much information

This should be a no-brainer in our data breach-dominated day and age, but if a shopping website or app requests a lot of info from the onset (credit card numbers, access to photos or contacts), it could be a fraud. Accidentally granting permission like that is often just the mistake hackers are waiting for you to make.

  1. Don’t click on Pop-Up Ads

Like step 4, this applies equally to popular websites and apps (and it carries over throughout the year, not just in December). If a website has a lot of irritating pop-up ads, exercise caution. Clicking on one of those can lead a user to an external illicit site that installs malware or other viruses on your device.

As always…Stay Protected. Stay Safe. Stay Aware… Happy Shopping from G.A. Farrell & Associates.

Based on an article, “Friendly Tech Tips” from ROSE ITSL.
ROSE IT Services Limited
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