It’s become so routine for me these days…I decide I need to purchase something…maybe it’s nighttime training pants for my daughter, vitamins for myself, or filters for our water pitcher. Apart from the grocery store and our local Walmart, I rarely shop in-stores and malls these days. Perhaps it’s the two small people that accompany everywhere I go or the fact that free shipping and online discount codes make it super convenient for me to shop at midnight in my pajamas.
Interestingly enough, something as benign as shopping online can actually pose quite a risk to your identity if you are not careful about your approach. Since we’re in the midst of the shopping season, I thought I’d share my favorite tips for protecting your identity while shopping online.
1. Update your computer security programs regularly. Set your software to update automatically to ensure your credit card and other important information is not left exposed to hackers.
2. It is always preferable (and most secure) to visit a retailer’s website versus clicking on a link in an email. Of note, spam email will imitate major retailers by simply changing one aspect of the site’s name, such as misspelling it or using a “.net” instead of a “.com”. And that presumption that Mac users are more protected than Windows users is a myth. Each fall prey to phishing scams at approximately the same rate.
3. Use caution when purchasing from websites like Craigslist and auction sites. Scams are very common, particularly those involving wire transfer of money via Western Union. Read the auction sites’ terms and conditions so that you are knowledgeable about warranties and returns/refunds.
4. Understand the inherent risks that come with Facebook applications. These applications may leave security holes which thieves can use to access your personal information including passwords and credit card numbers.
5. Know your rights. Federal law protects you from instances where a seller has not shipped your package within 30 days or by the date promised. You are eligible for a refund.
Do you shop online? How do you keep your information secure?
Disclosure: This is a compensated post in partnership with LifeLock. Some information and stats provided by LifeLock. All opinions remain solely that of the author.
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