Shopping online is an increasingly popular activity that will continue to expand. It is also a popular place for fraudsters to perpetrate scams. You can keep your online shopping experience a positive one by following a few simple tips.
You should only shop online with companies you know, trust and are able to verify. Even if it is a trusted company, use the following tips to help protect yourself.
- Always go to the main Web site of the company or bank you do business with, instead of clicking on a link from the body of an e-mail message. Learn about phishing.
- Only provide credit card or account information if you have initiated the transaction. A common phishing tactic is to ask you to "verify" or "update" your information.
- Always log off the Web site after making a purchase with your credit or debit card. If you aren't able to log off, close your browser window to prevent unauthorized access to your account information.
- Decline offers to "save your information" in order to speed up future buying processes. When you save your information, it is stored on that company's servers, which if compromised can leave you vulnerable.
- Beware of malware. Be sure to keep your computer's security software up to date and don't shop on a public computer. Learn more about malware.
Web Site Security
Even if you are shopping with a trusted company be sure to check for the following important security features. If any of these features are not present, do not complete the transaction and consider contacting the company directly.
Secure Padlock Symbol
Check for the secure padlock symbol anytime you are asked to enter your personal information. The symbol is a small padlock icon which appears to the right of your address bar in Internet Explorer or at the top of the page in Safari.
Verify that your connection is secure by looking at the Internet address. It will change from "http" to "https" when a purchase is made using a secure connection.
If you suspect that your account may have been compromised, contact your bank immediately. Learn more about reporting fraud.