According to a 2014 Deloitte survey, 55 percent of American consumers say they are concerned about protecting their personal data when shopping online, and 42 percent say they have similar concerns when shopping in stores. With the holiday shopping season fast approaching, consumers need to be more vigilant about protecting their personal data. PC Magazine offers the following tips to shop safely online. ̈
If possible, avoid using a debit card for purchases. Most debit cards don’t have the same level of fraud protection that credit cards have. If a debit card is all you have, protect your PIN by shielding the keypad with your hand or body.
Visit only trusted sites, which are more likely to be secure. Make sure an “https” appears in the site’s URL and a lock icon is visibly displayed. Log out of all shopping accounts after completing a transaction.
Avoid using a public Wi-Fi for your online shopping and financial transactions. Also use a password manager to create strong, unique passwords for each shopping site. Ä
Provide as little information to merchants as possible. Online retailers do not need to know your social security number or birth-date to do business.
Purchase gift cards directly from the retailer, not through a third-party source. Some scammers will auction off gift cards on sites like eBay with little or no funds on them.
Review online bank statements frequently to confirm charges; don’t wait for your monthly statement to arrive in the mail. If you notice any questionable charges, contact your financial institution immediately.
Keep these suggestions in mind, and you can enjoy a secure holiday shopping experience.
CRS Your Home Newsletter, November/December 2015