December 2nd marks Cyber Monday, one of the biggest online shopping days of the year. Before kicking off your holiday season shopping, be sure to strap on your helmets! Here are our 7 Tips for shopping online:
1. Shop on sites that you trust
One benefit of online shopping is how easy it is to find the cheapest bargains. When hunting for the best deals, be sure to stick with brands and merchants you trust. If you’re shopping on e-commerce sites like e-Bay or Etsy, always look into your merchant’s website to confirm the seller’s physical address and phone number to validate their authenticity.
2. Use strong passwords
If you need to create an online account, create a strong password–at least 8 characters, with a combination of numbers, symbols, and upper and lower case letters. Use unique passwords for each site, and never share your passwords with anyone. (hint: LionLock helps you generate strong passwords and stores them so you never have to worry about memorizing them!)
3. Shop with a credit card
Unlike debit cards, credit cards are protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act which protects you from unfair billing practices/errors and goods not delivered as agreed. In the event that your credit cards numbers are stolen, many card issuers also have a “zero liability” under which the card holder pays nothing for unauthorized purchases.If you are going to shop on classifieds web sites like Craigslist, never wire money and only buy locally. (hint: LionLock stores Credit Card information, too!)
4. Secure your online transactions – look for the “S”
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a technology to encrypt the credit card information that you send over the Internet. When submitting your financial information online, be sure the website address bar in your browser reads “https” (not just http). The “s” stands for “secure” and indicates that communication with the webpage is encrypted. If there is no “s”, avoid the transaction altogether and stick with a secure website.
5. Check your receipts & credit card statements
We recommend checking your bank statements daily or weekly. This will keep you on top of transactions posted to your account and help you monitor suspicious activity. You can also set up banking alerts to notify you when large transactions have been made to your account. You should also keep a paper trail of all of your receipts.
6. Beware of phishing e-mails & pop-ups
Set your browser to block pop-up messages. If you get an e-mail or pop-up message that asks for your financial information while you’re browsing, don’t reply or follow the link. Legitimate companies won’t ever dispute your transaction through e-mail and certainly won’t request financial information in a pop-up message. Should one of these “phishy” alerts arise, go with your instinct; click NOTHING and delete the e-mail or close out of the pop-up message.
If you’re unsure of the e-mail’s authenticity, BBB recommends calling the contact number on the website where the purchase was made to confirm that there really is a problem with the transaction.
7. Do NOT shop on public networks or computers
Public Wi-Fi is inherently unsafe for online shopping, as everything you do is visible to a third-party stranger with access to that network. Likewise, public computers may contain malicious software that steals your personal and credit card information when you are placing an order online. Our advice, shop from home on your own password protected network.
Do you have any other tips for shopping secure online? Comment below!