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Secure Online Shopping Tips

online shoppingDid you know 217.1 million people in the U.S. are online shoppers?*  From decorations to gifts and everything in between, you can find almost anything online. With a vast selection of sites to choose from, how can you ensure the sites you choose are safe? Here are some helpful tips to help you keep your information secure this holiday season.

Make sure the site is secure.
Before you make any purchases online, look for signs that the site is secure before you enter your payment information. Examples of a secure site include a closed padlock near the browser’s address bar or a website address beginning with “https.”

Beware of phishing emails.
Be on the lookout for emails from senders requesting personal information like login credentials or credit card information. If you receive a link to a website through an email, hover over the link to verify it actually takes you to a legitimate website before clicking on it. Most legitimate sites begin with “https,” but it’s important to use your best judgement. Or, instead of using links sent to you in an email, search for the retailer’s website yourself in your internet browser. Learn more about protecting yourself from phishing emails here.

Check the website’s privacy settings.
Review the website’s privacy policy before making purchases online. This will tell you how the merchant plans to share your information, what information the website is gathering about you and the company’s data security practices.

Don’t overshare.
Online retailers only need certain information to complete a transaction. Information such as your card number and shipping address are usually required, but you should not be asked to give your social security number or your bank account number in the checkout process.

Create unique passwords.
Create unique passwords for each online account. If your password is something obvious or easy to guess, criminals have a better chance of hacking into your accounts and accessing the payment information you’ve used to purchase items from the site. For tips on how to create and maintain strong passwords, click here.

Don’t shop on public Wi-Fi.
If you’re shopping online, you’re likely entering important personal information. If you are using public WiFi while shopping, anyone on the network can access information you submit while using the public WiFi. Make sure you’re connected to a secure network when shopping online.

Only shop at sites you trust.
Saving your payment information on a retail’s site makes shopping convenient, but only save your information to reputable sites.

Using these tips will help keep your information safe and your holidays bright.