Before embarking on your next online shopping spree, make sure you are not making your personal and financial data an easy target for potential hackers. Below are five tips to help you avoid becoming their next victim:
- Only shop on sites with current security certificates. How can you tell? Look for “https” at the beginning of a site’s address. If the “s” is missing at the end of “http,” then the site is not encrypted. That means your data will not be secure.
- Pay attention to computer software update notifications. The releases of new software updates often help improve security and advert potential cyberattacks. So, the next time you see an alert pop up on your computer to update your software, just do it – for safety sake.
- Free hotspots are an easy and convenient way to make an internet connection when you are out and about shopping. But these public networks are not secured, and hackers know this, making it easier for them to access your private data. Connect via secure, password-protected networks or cellular.
- Exercise caution when checking emails. ‘Tis the season when email scammers are more prone to send out viruses and malware disguised as a special gift or enticing deal. Avoid opening emails from people you don’t know or from sites you are not familiar with.
- Did you know cyber experts recommend that you avoid using your debit card when making online purchases? Take advantage of third-party payment services like PayPal or Apple Pay and use pre-saved payment details. Or rely, instead, on your credit card. Debit cards are linked to your bank account, which heightens the risk of someone hacking your financial data.