Holiday is coming soon. According to the research from Visa projects an 18 percent increase in online holiday spending this year. It’s important to take steps to protect yourself when shopping online. …
1. Ensure that the website address is secure and has a valid encryption certificate. It will usually display a “locked, green” indicator in front of the website name. If it doesn’t have that, it does not have a higher level of security that has been guaranteed by a known entity like Verisign, Symantec and others.
2. Ensure your system has the most recent recommended system and security patches.
3. Always use a credit card that is not tied directly to your personal bank account(s), even if you are using PayPal, Bitcoin or some other payment method.
4. Never give anything other than name, address and phone number. You should not need to answer security or privacy questions when making a purchase or checking out. If they ask, see if you can checkout as a “guest” instead.
5. Monitor your credit through a third party for identify theft and have SMS and email alerts sent to you immediately.
6. Set-up alerts with your credit card company that send both SMS and emails when any purchases are made and the credit card was not scanned (meaning, it wasn’t in someone’s hand when the charge was made). Set them as low as $25 per purchase. Also, set-up alerts for total purchases over $500 in a billing period to protect multiple $24.99 purchases. And if possible, a maximum amount of purchases allowed in a billing period such as $1500 before card will get declined.
7. Ensure that you have a reputable Antivirus program running on your computer and that your browser has an Ad blocking plug-in.
8. Ensure that the network your computer/device is on is secure and you know who has access to your network. This is usually done with your router. You want to lock down your router so that traffic can be initiated from the inside-out but you do not want traffic to be initiated from the outside-in. If you are using a WiFi connection, make sure that network is also secure and requires a password to join. If it is a public WiFi network that doesn’t require a password, then the traffic coming from your device can be monitored and stolen.
9. Any passwords that you use should be strong, hard to guess ones. Or, even better, .
10. Don’t click on unfamiliar links to sites advertising sales, coupons, etc.
11. Use two-factor authentication/verification, if it is offered.