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Online Shopping Safety

  • Use familiar websites. Go straight to the source instead of using search engines. Search results can lead to harmful sites. Typically major retail outlets have their own websites. Make sure that your spelling is correct and that the domain is correct (.net vs. .com).
  • Look for a lock icon. Do not enter credit card information on a site that does not have HTTPS:// or that does not have a lock icon either at the bottom of the browser window or next to the URL in the URL field.
  • Provide only necessary information. Shopping websites do not need your social security number or birthday in order to complete a transaction. The more information you provide, the easier it is for others to steal your identity. Provide only the minimal amount of information required for the transaction.
  • Track your transactions. Make sure to check your purchases online on your bank and credit card statements regularly to confirm the absence of fraudulent charges. If you see anything suspicious, call your card provider as soon as possible to address the matter. Some providers may have certain time limits to report fraudulent charges.
  • Create strong passwords. The more unusual your password is, the harder it is for hackers to break into your accounts. Avoid common words and number strings, such as “password” or “1234”. Make sure to keep your passwords private and try to change them frequently for the best protection. It is also useful to have different passwords for each account you have, ensuring that if one of your passwords is cracked, the hacker will not have immediate access to your other accounts.