Many of us shop online because it’s fast and convenient. But is it safe?
The answer is often no. That’s because as you shop online for deals, virtual scam artists can be simultaneously shopping for your identity.
Advice for any device
Whether you’re using a traditional computer, a tablet or a mobile device, these tips will help you shop online safely.
- Beware of misspelling the site you intend on visiting—and be wary about shopping at sites that end in anything other than .com.
- Remember that any page that lets you enter credit card information should start with https:// and include a locked padlock icon.
- Use credit, rather than debit, cards when you shop online. Debit card information is easier to steal, and it takes longer to recover any stolen funds.
- Refrain from making purchases via a public Wi-Fi connection—open connections can give hackers direct access to your personal information.
- If a site requires you to log in, choose a strong password that doesn’t in any way relate to your personal information.
- Make sure that any built-in firewalls are turned on and that any security software you have is up to date.
Research shows that smartphone users are twice as likely as other cell owners to have had someone invade their privacy after accessing their phone. And that’s especially scary news for the 80 percent of smartphone users who use their phone to shop online since they’re exposing their financial information.
Safeguard your smartphone by following these tips.
- Download store-specific apps before you shop online. Apps tend to offer more security than websites.
- When installing a retailer’s app (or any app for that matter), take the time to read the small print and consider the personal information the app requires. Not comfortable sharing so much? Then seriously reconsider installing it.
- Install—and regularly update—any security software that’s made specifically for your smartphone.
- Look into programs that back up information on your smartphone to your home computer. Many of these programs will also wipe out information stored on your phone if it’s lost or stolen. While iPhones have a built-in feature that erases information after 10 failed log-on attempts, Android users should check out other options.
Added personal protection
Sometimes even the most careful cyber shoppers fall prey to identity theft–and that ends up costing victims a lot of time and money. That’s why it’s worth adding ERIE’s Identity Recovery Coverage to your homeowners insurance policy. Available for a low annual fee, Identity Recovery Coverage reimburses you for expenses related to the theft and more. To learn more and get a quote, contact your local ERIE Agent.