More and more people are doing their holiday shopping online these days. Why not? It’s convenient, you don’t have to put up with crowds, you can easily compare merchandise and prices and you don’t have to worry about the weather.
Shopping online, however, comes with the risk of identity theft.
Here are some tips to use while shopping online to help protect your identity:
1. Protect your passwords
Never reveal your passwords to anyone–even your family and friends. It’s sad but true that many cases of ID theft involve those closest to you.
2. Make sure your antivirus program is up-to-date
A current antivirus program, such as McAfee, will automatically update your PC against new threats.
3. Only shop on secure sites
You can tell if a site is secure if you see a closed padlock on the browser’s status bar. In addition, the website’s URL should change to “s-http” or “https” when you are asked to provide payment information.
4. Don’t click the link
If you receive an e-mail advertising a great sale, don’t click on the link in the e-mail unless you know and trust the retailer. Instead, type the URL and check the site for authenticity and credibility. Malicious links sent in e-mail are the No. 1 way for cyber crooks to insert Trojans and viruses on computers, including the kind that can steal your personal information–and you’ll never even know it until it’s too late.
5. Pay by credit card, not debit card
All credit cards come with specific consumer protection that is far superior to checking account debit cards. In addition, frequently monitor online your credit card and banking accounts to make sure only the items you have charged or purchased are listed.