Shopping online is undoubtedly a great way to save money as well as time, but you have to be careful that you take steps to save your identity as well. In your quest to save, you don’t want to end up spending all those dollars you saved on safeguarding and regaining your identity. Put these tips to good use to protect your identity, your finances and your sanity while you shop online.
Start With the Basics
Something as simple as making sure the computer you use for online shopping and your internet connection are secure go a long way in keeping your identity and finances safe. When you see a software update is available for your computer, you’ll first want to research it to make sure it’s a genuine update and not a virus before downloading it. You should also have up-to-date virus and malware protection programs downloaded, with the key phrase here being “up-to-date.” Scammers might have figured out a way to slip past outdated programs.
Only Buy From Merchants You Know and Trust
You’ll be better off only buying products from merchants you know and trust as well as those who have a solid reputation. Before buying from someone new, check out reviews and feedback from various sources (like you would with Raleigh auto insurance providers) just to make sure those reviews and feedback aren’t fake. While it’s understandable you want to pounce on a good deal as soon as you see it, it’s more important you make sure you don’t become a victim.
Shop With a Credit Card
Even if you have the money to pay for the online item you want, use your credit card to make the purchase. This is recommended because your credit card has more protection under federal law than your debit card, which can make it easier to dispute fraudulent charges and protect yourself. Once you’ve used your credit card, simply pay off the balance of the item you just bought to avoid paying interest on it.
Make Sure Your Phone Security Is Up-to-Date
You might like shopping on your phone just as much as you do your computer. If so, be sure you’ve downloaded security apps and that your phone has the latest software updates (much like your computer). Take the same precautions while shopping on your phone as you would when shopping on your computer.
Don’t Use Public Wi-Fi
The great thing about online shopping is that you can do it from the comfort of your own home, not the comfort of the local coffee shop or library. This is because public places have open Wi-Fi signals scammers can use to take a peek at the information you type into your computer, such as bank account passwords and other personal information. Even if you aren’t shopping while using a public computer, you should still make sure you log out of every site you visit and log out of the computer itself. You never know if/when someone might come along and take a look at your history or the information entered on a site you visited.
Keep a Close Eye on Your Statements
Get into the habit of looking over your bank and credit card statements at least once a month to make sure there aren’t any fraudulent charges. More importantly, take a look at the location of those charges. If you see you filled up on gas in Peru when you don’t even have a passport, something is likely amiss.
There are few better feelings than saving money, but there are few more devastating feelings than learning you’ve become a victim of identity theft. Always remain proactive to protect your identity and your financial information while shopping online.