Online Shopping: Protect Yourself From Identity
Thieves During Your Online Shopping Trips
Online shopping is fast, easy, and convenient, but it's important to be cautious about making a purchase over the Internet. Identity thieves who steal your personal information can rack up thousands of dollars in unauthorized purchases. A few simple safety precautions can help you enjoy online shopping without becoming a victim of identity theft or fraud.
You should only shop at secure websites that use encryption to scramble your
credit card number and other personal information.
Encryption prevents hackers from obtaining your
personal data. To tell if an online shopping web
site uses encryption technology, look for a closed
padlock symbol at the bottom of your browser window.
It's safest to do your online shopping with businesses you already know and
trust. If you're considering making a purchase from
an unfamiliar company, it's a good idea to do some
research before placing your order. A reputable
business will list a physical business address and
at least one phone number on their website. It's
a good idea to always do business with companies
located in the United States, since you'll be protected
by federal consumer laws if there is a problem with
The best way to pay for your online shopping purchases is with a credit card. Using checks or debit cards as payment methods can expose your bank account information to thieves. Credit card payments offer you legal protection if there is a problem with your purchase. However, it's a good idea to reserve one credit for online shopping only; if something goes wrong it will be easier to trace the source of any fraudulent charges.
Many online shopping web sites require their customers
to log-in before making a purchase. Choose a secure
password that includes both letters and numbers.
Don't use commonly known information such as your
birthdate, mother's maiden name, or portions of
your driver's license or Social Security number
to create passwords for online shopping websites.
Keep your password in a safe place and don't use
the same password for another online shopping website.