Consumer Savings Tips

9 Strategies for Secure Online Shopping

According to a study by IBM Coremetrics, the number of consumers shopping online in November will increase 15 percent over the same time last year.

All that clicking means thieves will have more opportunities to steal your identity and your money. Fortunately, playing it safe isn’t that difficult. Browse these nine tips to help you shop online without fear.

1. Use Security Software
Even if you don’t shop or bank online, you should have security software installed on your computer. Make sure this software includes firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware capabilities.

2. Look for the “S”
Once you reach the payment portion of a website, the url address should change from “http” to “https,” indicating your purchase is encrypted or secured. Most merchants also display shields from such security companies as VeriSign, GeoTrust, Comodo and Entrust.

3. Use a Unique Password
It’s hard to remember different passwords for each site, but you’ll have less chance of identity theft if you switch it up. Don’t use obvious information, like your address, phone number, birth date, initials or even your dog’s name.

4. Check Your Credit Card Liability
Federal law allows you to dispute credit card charges and unauthorized use. Many credit card issuers also offer “zero liability,” which means you pay nothing if someone steals your information and uses it.

5. Use PayPal
As with credit cards, PayPal provides purchase protection in the form of $0 liability for unauthorized purchases. They also offer refunds for incorrect orders or items that never arrive and a process for resolving problems.

6. Hide Your Identity
Did you ever visit an e-retailer a second time and find the site remembers you in eerie ways? That’s because their server used a cookie to identify you. Avoid cookies by using such services as anonymizer.com to hide your identity or GuerrillaMail.com to create a temporary email address that lasts just 60 minutes.

7. Fake Invoices
Some cyber criminals send fake invoices and delivery notifications that look like they were sent from a merchant or transport service. These are easy to spot as the email will request your billing information or require you open an attachment to view an invoice.

8. Research Sellers
Sites such as eBay and Amazon allow buyers to rate sellers based on their dependability and quality of service. Look for high ratings and read through the attached comments before you buy.

9. Avoid Shopping on Public Networks
Casual hackers and identity thieves haunt public networks while others create non-password-protected networks that allow them to steal your pertinent information. In short, your best bet is to shop on a secure network.

  1. Kim Fraiser says:

    Virtual cards are really the way to go when it comes to online shopping. I don’t want to give my plastic credit card number over the internet because I’m afraid of someone stealing it! I have been using this mobile app, CSI globalVCard that allows me to make one time use MasterCard numbers on my phone or my ipad. It’s really secure and works the exact same way that my plastic would work, except I don’t have to worry about fraud!

Recent Posts

An Effortless Way to “Trim” Excess Spending from Your Monthly Budget

Memberships and subscription services represent a convenient method of paying for goods and services, but the set-it-and-forget-it format can be trouble for your finances. Take the time to review your bills and trim excess spending.

ABC7 New York: Smart 2016 Money Moves

Many consumers are hoping to spend less and save more money in 2016, but how best to get started on this lofty and oft-abandoned resolution? Andrea shares her top tips for smart money moves to make now with Nina Pineda.

WGN Chicago: Tips to Save on Gym Memberships

Getting fit tops resolutions for many Americans, but sadly most New Year’s goals fizzle after just three weeks. The cost of gym memberships can be prohibitive, especially when you’re locked into a contract you don’t end up using. To finally make fitness a part of your lifestyle without draining your budget, Andrea offered her tips for saving money on gym memberships and more with the WGN Morning News team.