Shopping online has become so common for most of us that it’s easy to forget that there are criminals out there who can steal our personal information – resulting in costly problems. Following are a few tips to help you avoid fake companies, fake websites and identity thieves.
Only Use Trusted Websites – You should only shop on websites that you know are legitimate or have made purchases from in the past. You can tell if a site is safe and encrypted by looking for a padlock symbol on the URL bar.
Beware of Extremely Low Prices – Identity thieves sometimes set up fake websites with very low prices in order to steal your information. If a website has items with prices that look too good to be true, then that often is exactly the case – it’s a rip-off. Compare prices and photos of products with those on other sites and be very careful.
Don’t Use Public Wi-Fi – Although it can be very convenient, public Wi-Fi means your information is going over public airwaves – which can be intercepted. Be smart and never shop online while you’re connected to public Wi-Fi.
Create Really Strong Passwords – One of the best ways to keep your accounts safe is by creating strong passwords. You should make a different password for every account and use a complex set of numbers, upper and lower case letters and symbols. Avoid using any type of personal information that others can guess (birthdays, your kid’s names, pet names, etc.).
Pay With a Credit Card – Using a credit card gives you the best liability protection. In fact, most major cards offer $0 liability for fraudulent purchases. On the other hand, if you use a debit card your liability for fraudulent charges is capped at $50 – but if you fail to report the theft within 60 days you may never get any of your money back.