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Online Shopping Tips Everyone Can Use All Year Long
Tuesday, December 15, 2015 6:35 AM

By Kevin Hood, CTGA, IT Consultant, Credit Union Resources

Now is the time of year when millions of consumers will rush to their computers, tablets, and phones to take advantage of great online holiday shopping deals. While this is the season for online shopping, these tips can be used year-round to ensure you do not fall victim to online shopping fraud.

  • As always, use an updated device. This is nothing new. You should always ensure you are using a fully patched device with up-to-date security software. Whether it's your Windows workstation, tablet, or phone, make sure everything is updated with the latest security patches.
  • Use strong passwords. This is another one you’ve heard a million times. With online shopping, many times you may be required to setup an account. Make sure to use a strong, complex password for all online accounts.
  • Be vigilant when clicking on links in an email or on social media. If a deal seems too good to be true, it usually is. This type of email or post may be a phishing attempt to lure you into visiting a malicious site. When in doubt, open up your browser and manually enter the website.
  • Only use secure websites. You should never enter personal information into an unsecure site. Secure websites will be noted by “HTTPS://” at the beginning of the web address. Make sure this is there before entering any information.
  • Avoid public WiFi when purchasing. Public WiFi networks should not be considered secure. If you are just browsing sites looking for good deals, you should be fine on public WiFi. However, when you are ready to buy, only enter your payment and contact information when you are on a secure network, such as at home or work. If on a mobile device, using the data connection from your wireless carrier is better than public WiFi.
  • Use reputable apps. If you're using a tablet or phone, make sure to only download apps from reputable sources such as the Google Play or Apple App Store. You may even want to research the app before downloading and entering any personal information.
  • Document and monitor transactions. You should save all of your receipts, emails, and any other communications you may have with a seller. Monitor your accounts closely to ensure unauthorized or fraudulent charges do not appear. If they do, contact your credit union immediately.

Follow these tips, and you’ll be doing your best to keep the Grinch out of your Christmas!