Online Shopping Security
Online shopping can be a huge money (and time) saver. However, making sure your account and debit or credit card information is secure on the internet can be tricky. We’ve compiled a few tips to help you keep your information safe while you’re searching for the best deals.
The URL padlock
While paying less for what you want is always enticing, it’s important to consider the security of the site before you give them your information. If a site’s url doesn’t have a lock beside it, that’s a big red flag and you should not provide ANY of your personal information. The lock represents encrypted communication is being used. Unfortunately, a lock beside a url does not guarantee protection from hackers but a lack of one may be a sign that the site is up to no good.
Credit v. Debit
Even if you trust the company you’re purchasing from, your information can still be stolen by hackers who use third-party software (like a fake java update) to sneak-in to the website. Using credit cards rather than debit cards to make online purchases can greatly reduce the amount of damage a hacker can do if they manage to steal your information since credit cards aren’t linked to your bank account and they will eventually max out and decline payment authorization.
You should avoid making online purchases using public wifi. Other people who are connected to the same network can intercept your data and steal it.
If you rely on public wifi a lot or still plan on using it to make purchases, installing a virtual private network, or VPN, from a verified, trustworthy source, will add an extra layer to your security blanket. Keeping anti-virus software up to date can also help prevent information theft. However, you should still avoid using public wifi to buy online.
We all know this one. It’s hard to keep track of a dozen completely different passwords but if you use the same or a very similar password on your social media accounts that you use for popular shopping sites, you should consider changing that before you start your holiday gift buying. Strong passwords have uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers AND special characters. Avoid using the common password format of Uppercaseletter lowercaseletters number specialcharacter (i.e.Stickykeys9*). A stronger and more unusual format will look more like this: 9st!cKey$.
It can be overwhelming to look at your transaction history when you’re constantly making purchases, but thieves might be counting on you not looking. Checking on your account more frequently such as every day or every other day will help keep it under control. Plus, if someone does make a purchase on your account, you’ll know about it that much sooner!
Fraudulent account activity and identity theft both increase during the holiday season so it’s especially important to be on your toes. Any time of year is a good time to double-down on your security though!
Centennial Bank, Member FDIC.
Our customer care center is always happy to help with any questions or problems you may have. You can reach them at 888-372-9788.