Online shopping can provide more options and convince this holiday season, but can also turn consumers into targets for identity theft. Consumers can reduce the risk if they know what to keep an eye out for.
It is reported by the National Retail Federation, 44 percent of shoppers this holiday season will be shopping online.
Unfortunately, with this online convenience comes security issues. In this digital age it is important to be educated on what to look for when shopping via the internet.
When looking to buy an item, pay close attention to the websites, as well as the products that you are buying. A tactic used by hackers is to steal a victim’s identity by posting fake ads of items at ridiculously low prices to lure a person to a false website.
“Most people don’t investigate the websites they shop on and just click on links to the items they’re interested in without thinking that the link to a website offering them a ‘better deal’ could be fake, and is just being use to obtain your personal data,” Marissa Kirk, Computer Network Security and Administration (CNET) major said.
When shopping on a web page that looks untrustworthy look for anything unusual, like distorted pictures, inconsistent information, or grammatical errors.
If asked to create an account on the website for checkout look to see if the website uses a hypertext transfer protocol (https) in their web address.
This is located on any web browser in the upper left corner of a search bar, furthermore it would be best for a shopper to stick with a trusted website or actually going to retail stores like Walmart, Best Buy, and Radioshack versus taking a chance on a website that isn’t widely known or used.
Shopping on a trusted website like eBay or Amazon, with a deal advertised by a third party on the retail site, contact the seller for further information before making a purchase.
Ask the seller for more verification if a certain product seems suspicious.
Requesting other image photos, along with a payment method that would be considered safe for both parties, such as Paypal or a prepaid credit card are possible options.
“Buying a prepaid credit card or using Paypal is a great way to insure you’re more secure in case of cyber theft because it adds a layer of security,” Scott Hudson, Assistant Professor for CNET said. “Checking your bank accounts regularly after making a purchase can help you catch and trace any unauthorized or odd purchases if they occur. The sooner you find the problem if one comes up, the sooner it can be dealt with.”
Taking these steps and further educating on how to protect identities and information from hackers will greatly reduce the risk in shopping online this holiday season.
For more ways to secure your identity and banking account for future references visit Safe&Savvy at http://safeandsavvy.f-secure.com/
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