As the Holidays approach, early bird shoppers are looking for the best deals available to make their loved ones happy. Sometimes, these deals are “online only,” located on many of our favorite sites, leading to approximately $32.6 billion dollars spent online in 2010.
With the increased familiarity of online shopping, as I-pads, Android phones and I-phones are now being used to complete transactions, it is important to protect you identification information.
The popularity of using computers and mobile devices for transactions have increase, however unfortunately so have the instances of identity theft.
Anyone shopping online is vulnerable to have their identity compromised, however with the proper precautions and protecting your credit and preventing financial ruin can be easier then it seems.
To help prevent this unfortunate circumstance from happening, here are a few safety tips:
- Use Trusted Brands: Use familiar brands such as Walmart.com, bestbuy.com or other trusted sites have proper protection. Brands similar to these are aware with potential computer security threats and have built in the correct infrastructure to combat these scammers. Pay close attention to the spelling of the domain names using “.net” instead of “.com,” as this is a common tactic of criminals.
- Password Strength: Most individuals have many online accounts, i.e. Banking, credit cards or email, and it is a very common practice to recycle simple passwords. It is suggested to use unique and uncrack-able passwords when banking and shopping. We suggest you avoid:
- Avoid using a password where letters or numbers appear in sequential order, similar to your keyboard (“hjkl” or “6789”)
- Using your birthday, anniversary or date of graduation
- It is “password,” or the name of your kids, favorite team or city of birth
Each of these passwords are easily accessed and many can be found with minimal research by a criminal.
- Mobile Mentality: The NRF or (National Retail Federation) estimates that 25 percent of adults during the holidays will do online browsing for gifts from their mobile device. Smartphones are a great way to do shopping, however instead of web browsing, download the store specific apps to avoid using their website.
- Protect your Identity with Theft Protection Service: Finding a service provider you trust is important. Helpful customer service and advanced technology is essential to identifying any fraud issues. Take precaution when selecting your provider as it is important that they work diligently to resolve any issues.
- Share Less: No company needs your social security number. If this information gets in the wrong hands, combined with your credit information, damage can be done. Exercise caution when releasing personal information.
There is debate on whether the internet will ever be a completely safe place to shop, however these steps can help increase your protection. By preparing for the worst you can help maintain a safe environment for your family, and ensure that your possessions remain safe.
About the Author: Simon is a staff writer for Protection 1®, one of the largest and most respected business and home alarm systems companies in the U.S. Visit Protection 1® today for installation, maintenance, and monitoring of single-family home security systems, business security systems and multi-family security systems.