Buying gifts online can make the holiday season a lot less stressful, but it can also increase your likelihood of experiencing a cybercrime. Fortunately, taking a few simple precautions can help you avoid being a victim of credit card fraud and identity theft. Here are some tips for staying secure while doing your holiday shopping online.
1. Make purchases on secure Wi-Fi networks
When making online transactions, always use secure Wi-Fi networks. That means avoiding public Wi-Fi, like the internet you’d connect to in a coffee shop or airport, since these public networks are more susceptible to identity theft attacks. If you are out and about and don’t have access to a private Wi-Fi network, try using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) while you shop online so your connection is secure.
2. Use credit over debit cards for online purchases
Making online purchases can mean exposing your financial account information to a cybercriminal. As a general rule-of-thumb, it’s safer to use credit cards than debit cards for online purchases since credit card purchases aren’t tied to your personal funds.
As an added measure of safety, avoid storing your credit card information on shopping websites. Manually entering your account information may feel like a chore, but it’s worth the extra effort. If you lose a device, a cybercriminal could have easy access to stored account details to make fraudulent purchases or sell your account information.
3. Choose trustworthy retailers
One common way fraudsters attract victims is by creating fake websites. You can avoid being scammed by sticking to familiar retailers and websites when you’re shopping online. Trustworthy and popular retail sites have robust security measures in place.
Another way to do your holiday shopping safely is to stick to secured websites. You can identify them by looking for the “s” in “https” in your URL box. This indicates that the website utilizes a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to encrypt information distributed online, such as your credit card details.
Want to learn more? Click here to read about other online shopping tips.
This article is provided for general guidance and information. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal issues or financial issues involved with credit decisions.
Service provided by Experian®