’Tis the season for kicking online shopping into overdrive. With that in mind, you should be self-aware while on the worldwide web. There are bandits lurking along the information highway, eager to make you their next mark.
According to Fiserv’s annual holiday spending report, Black Friday brick-and-mortar sales were up 4.2 percent over 2018. Now, hang on to your mistletoe: Spending via mobile wallets was up 82 percent compared with last year! Online shopping pulled in a record $7.2 billion on Friday, according to Salesforce, which tracks online spending – a 14 percent year-over-year growth.
With that in mind, here are five tips to help keep you safer while surfing the Internet:
Check to ensure your antivirus and operating systems are up to date. This will help to protect your personal data. If you’ve been consistent with weekly (even monthly) scans, congrats – you’re ahead of the game. But do it again, for peace of mind.
Do not buy items from mass emails. Ditto pop-up windows. Do not provide personal information – date of birth, driver’s license number, national IDs, etc. – because no online shopping store needs that information.
Remember: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Keep surfing! Go to familiar websites and, if you type in an address, double check to ensure you didn’t fat-finger the web address. Also be cognizant of .com versus .net; online pirates often dock in those ports of call.
When sharing your credit card number, always check to see if the web address starts with “https” and contains the padlock symbol. If so, rest easy; you’re sharing that information on a secure site. Also, pay attention to see if the site is recognized by TRUSTe, VeriSign or Better Business Bureau Online. “Verified by Visa” or “MasterCard Secure Code” guarantees your online payment.
This is often overlooked, have different passwords for different logins and websites. Online pirates are savvy; a little bit of info goes a long way. Also, always log-out after placing an order. Finally, keep a copy of the confirmation email for your records.