While shopping online has some great benefits, there are also some privacy and security risks to consider.
Protect Your Connection
If you’re using public Wi-Fi (even the paid kind), it could be unsecured and unencrypted—meaning hackers can steal your personal information. By using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), you can protect your information even while using an unencrypted Wi-Fi connection. You can get VPN software to set up your own or you can use a VPN service.
Verify the Website
If you don’t know or can’t verify the website from which you want to buy the item, don’t make the purchase. Anyone can create a website!
Look for the Lock
If you’re on the payment screen and you don’t see a closed padlock or https in the browser’s address bar, it means that the website doesn’t have SSL encryption and you shouldn’t provide any of your personal information.
Use Credit Instead of Debit
Your bank deducts money directly from your bank account when you use your debit card. This means that if your debit card information is compromised, someone could empty your account very quickly. You're also better protected and have the right to both dispute charges and withhold payments during an investigation when you use a credit card (see our article: Think About Your Cards (Before the Next Retail Data Breach)).
Turn On Alerts
Many banks and credit card companies allow you to set up alerts to notify you anytime your card is used in an online, phone or mail order purchase (card not present transactions). You can get an email or text every time your card has been charged for one of these types of purchases.