December 2015: Secure Holiday Shopping
With concern recent cyber attacks and breaches, it's important that consumers take steps to ensure they remain secure while shopping online.
- Shop securely - Most sites now use secure socket layer (SSL), which means that a site is encrypted and offers an extra layer of protection. These site will have "https://" instead of "http://". You can also use private browsing to prevent traditional cookie caching, meaning your personal information will not be saved on any sites you visit.
- Check a site's legitimacy - As a general, stick to websites you are more familiar with. Larger online retailers have taken many steps to ensure that your data is safe. When using a search engine to do online shopping, always scrutinize the websites and see search to see if any other users have posted regarding their experiences with that website
- Be aware of the information being requested - Keep in mind that no legitimate retailer will ever ask for more information than required to complete your purchase. They should never ask for information such as Social Security Number (SSN).
- Check device security - If you are using apps to do online shopping, check to make sure the app uses end-to-end encryption. Also be aware if an app is asking for more permissions than it needs (such as contacts, messages, etc).
- Beware too-good-to-be-true offers - Be aware of advertisements for ridiculous discounts, or sites advertising popular items way below the average sale price. Also avoid emails that access you to click a link is or to access a deal.
- Know the technology you are buying - If you're buying new technology, know what security comes with it. Make sure to change default passwords and review security settings on every new device
In the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, online retailers can make the experience much smoother, but it's important to remember to take a few extra precautionary steps to keep your transactions secure and give you a peace of mind while shopping online.