It’s the holidays, which for some of us, means travelling to spend time with friends and loved ones.
Based on your email inbox and online ads, it also seems to mean online shopping. Between staying connected while travelling and sending sensitive information over the internet to make online purchases, it’s important to make sure you aren’t compromising your information online.
Here are a few tips to make sure that new website you are about to buy from is safe:
- Do you see the “s”? When you’re on a webpage to make a purchase or donation, double check the URL. Do you see “https”? This, accompanied with a padlock symbol, means the website is secure and can be trusted with your information.
- Is the source trustworthy? If you’re shopping on a website that you’ve already made purchases from, chances are you can safely continue to shop from them. Many web browsers will warn you if a site looks suspicious before allowing you to continue, which is another good indicator. Most domains allow you to look up the company that owns them by going to www.whois.net. You can use the website name or company name in a quick online search and see BBB complaints, ongoing lawsuits, or other evidence of untrustworthy behavior. If a deal looks too good to be true, chances are it probably is.
- Does the site look up to date? Websites that have not been updated in awhile are easy targets for hackers. (Think about it: if you don’t perform routine maintenance on your house, it’s increasingly susceptible to damage from weather, pests, and so on. Website software needs regular updates to stay safe and secure too.) If a website hasn’t been updated in at least a year, consider trusting it with your information.
- Too much information? Speaking of information, does it seem like the website you’re using is requesting a little more information than it needs? If you’re being asked for your Social Security Number to purchase a jacket, you should really abandon that shopping cart.http://www.welivesecurity.com/2015/10/27/top-tips-on-buying-online-in-a-safe-and-secure-way/
- Do you understand the protection of your credit or debit card? Many banks, credit card companies, and others who issue credit or debit cards have some sort of fraud protection or will freeze your account if it seems like you’re making a lot of unusual purchases. At Oak Bank, we have security in place for our customers, contact us and we’re happy to tell you all about what security your account offers!
- Do you have Paypal? If you have the option to use a third party payment system, such as PayPal, this means the merchant gets paid without seeing your payment information.
- Do you use a public computer or WiFi connection? If you’re using a public computer, a general best practice is to not login to any accounts or enter any personal information. If you absolutely must, double check that you have logged out. The same thing goes for public WiFi.
- Have you checked your account in the last 48 hours? Check your balance on a regular basis. Oak Bank and other institutions have an online banking option that you can log into at your own convenience, so you don’t need to wait for a monthly update. Keeping a close watch on your account could mean you pick up on unusual account activity before a lot of damage can be done. You can even set up text or email alerts for events like your balance getting low or a payment being made with your account.
Being able to make purchases with one click without having to leave your house is one of the greatest conveniences of our time. However, it isn’t so convenient if someone intercepts your payment information and uses it for their holiday gift giving! Be smart and be safe when shopping online this holiday season.
More resources to help:
Free antivirus software, malware removal, information about security updates and more.
Tips and advice for common online security issues.
Think you were the victim of an internet crime? Report it here.