How To Protect Yourself From Identity Theft While Shopping Online
Online shopping has become more and more popular over time, but unfortunately, so has identity theft. People have also become more vulnerable over time due to increased shopping on mobile devices instead of computers, which have more protections.
One of the most common ways identity thieves try to steal information is by sending an email that appears to be from a bank or company. The email will tell the recipient to go to another site, which will then steal the person’s information.
Here are some tips to help you avoid identity theft while shopping online.
Don’t shop online while on public Wi-Fi. It may be tempting to shop while at your favorite restaurant or coffee shop. But these connections are not private, so shopping or even accessing your bank account while using these hotspots puts your personal information at risk.
Avoid attachments and hyperlinks. Opening attachments even when you think they are actually from a legitimate source. The business or person sending the attachment could have a virus. Hyperlinks are risky as well. Before clicking on a hyperlink, hover over it and check that it will be taking you to the appropriate site.
Be careful what you download on your phone. Shopping from your phone can be very convenient. So, it’s tempting to download your favorite retailer’s app to make it even easier. But, this may not be a good idea. These apps can make a consumer more vulnerable to risks due to phones not always having the level of data encryption that computers generally do.
Look twice at messages that appear to be from friends. Identity thieves often use social media since they know that people are more likely to click on links they believe are from their friends. Another common way to try and get people to click on a link is to offer a deal that appears too good to be true, such as a free iPad or other expensive item.
Choose effective passwords. Passwords are an important part of your security online, so it’s important to choose passwords that are difficult to hack. Long phrases mixed with numbers and symbols are a good choice. Also, remember not to use the same password for more than one account.
Make sure you shop from reputable retailers. Before shopping from a retailer you are unfamiliar with, it is a good idea to check their reputation. Otherwise, you could find yourself buying something you never receive or even having your identity stolen.
Check your statements. It’s always important to check your bank or credit card statements to see if there were any unauthorized transactions. If you identify a problem quickly, the thief may not be able to continue to use your information. Additionally, the quicker you report the problem, the less likely you are to be responsible for any loss from the theft.
If you do suspect you have been the victim of identity theft, it is essential to contact the police and your bank. You should also place a freeze on your credit and consider running a background check on yourself to make sure your identity has not been used for any criminal purposes.
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