If you do a majority of your purchases online, then you know that it is vital to keep your personal information secure. Here are five tips to help you protect your identity on online purchases and keep your accounts out of the hands of hackers.
Five Tips to Help You Protect Your Identity on Online Purchases
#1. Keep Your Computer Safe
First, install an antivirus program on your computer and other devices, and keep them updated. A full-blown security suite is best. It can help eliminate spam, intercept spear-phishing emails and phishing attacks that originate from websites. Major browsers have security features built in to help protect you, but using a protected browser is no guarantee.
#2. Keep Your Personal Information Safe
Hackers can mimic websites. No legitimate online retailer will ask for your birthday, social security number, or driver’s license number. They might request your name, email address, physical address, and billing information only.
Another tip is to not automatically save your information on any site. It is a good idea to set up a PO Box instead of using your physical address, if possible. Head to your local post office, like the Lakewood post office, and set up a PO Box. Next time you make an online purchase, have your items sent to your PO Box instead of your home address.
#3. Create Strong Passwords
You will want to make sure you are changing your passwords frequently. A good password should be at least seven characters long and have a mixture of numbers, symbols, upper case, and lower-case letters. You can opt for a passphrase where you string together words, numbers, and symbols. Or you can also use a password manager to create secure passwords. Most antivirus software has this feature integrated into their system. Using a password manager will help you to keep track of your passwords as you enter them into the websites you use.
#4. Use Familiar Websites
Only shop with trusted retailers who have legitimate websites. Never purchase anything from a website that does not have an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) with encryption installed. Also, the URL should begin with HTTPS, not HTTP. And a trusted website will also have the padlock symbol. An icon of a padlock will appear, usually to the left of the URL in the address bar or below the status bar.
If you are a newbie and never heard of SSL certificate, then you can search on Google to find cheap SSL provider. Different types of SSL certificate are there to secure your website for example, security for different wildcard domains falls under a multi domain wildcard SSL that allows multiple wildcard primary domains and their subdomains under a single SSL certificate.
#5. Payment Options
It is best to use credit cards for web payments. You get a few protections with credit cards that you do not with debit cards, and they are not directly linked to your bank account. Most credit cards come with identity theft protection as well as protection against fraudulent charges. Whereas a debit card has no protection, and the money comes directly from your bank account.
Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, consumers are protected in the event of identity theft or fraud if you use a credit card. This law protects account holders by limiting their fraud liability to $50. If you see an unauthorized charge to a credit card, you can put it on hold until it is investigated. This means you do not need to pay for the unauthorized purchase on your credit card. Make sure to review your account transactions on a weekly or monthly basis to check for any fraudulent activity.
These are a few tips to keep you safe online and help protect you from fraud and online scams. Hackers are getting more sophisticated about how to steal information, so this means that you have to get more sophisticated, too, by protecting yourself at all times.