Online Shopping Identity Prevention Find the perfect gift, and stay safe!
1. Don’t provide payment through an unsecure connection:
Tip: When making a payment online, make sure you are using a secure connection that ensures identity protection. Reputable online merchants will direct you to a secure or encrypted webpage when you are ready to check out so that only you and the merchant can view your credit card information.
To ensure that an online merchant has a secure connection, look for the image of a lock in your browser window, an address that starts with “https” (instead of just http), the wording “Secure Sockets Layer” (SSL), or a pop-up box that says you are entering a secure portion of the website.
2. Pay with a debit card, check, or cashier’s check:
Tip: A credit card is the most secure form of payment for online purchases because you have more protection if the merchant fails to deliver the item as promised. According to U.S. law, your out-of-pocket liability for unauthorized credit card charges is limited to $50, and many card issuers will even cover the first $50 and offer zero liability on unauthorized charges or billing errors.
3. Avoid using multiple credit cards for online purchases:
Tip: Pick one credit card for all of your online shopping so it’s easier to monitor charges and spot errors or identity theft red flags.
Consider finding out if your credit card company offers virtual credit cards for online purchases. With a virtual credit card, the card number changes for each transaction, making it harder for identity thieves to hijack the number and reuse it. Even though the number changes for the purpose of the online transaction, every charge is still applied to the same credit card account.
4. Don’t store your credit card information online:
Tip: Instead of storing your credit card information with online vendors, simply type your card number in manually for every transaction.
5. Avoid passwords that are easy to hack:
Tip: Create strong passwords that include upper and lower case numbers, symbols, and punctuation marks, and be sure to update them regularly to help prevent hacking. Passwords that include your birth date, address, or phone number could easily be compromised. An identity thief that cracks your password may be even more dangerous if the online retailer also has your credit card number stored.
6. Respond quickly to a fraudulent charge:
Tip: If you notice a charge on your bill or in your account that wasn’t made by you, contact your credit card company immediately—even if the charge is for a small amount. Your account can be closed and you can request to be issued a new card to prevent further fraud or identity theft.
By avoiding habits that put you at risk while shopping online, you can help protect yourself against identity theft.