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The inside of a mall during the holiday season

Online Holiday Shopping Safety Tips

Posted by Citizens Bank Insurance Services

It’s hard to imagine the days before online shopping. Better yet, it’s hard to imagine the days when you didn’t have to worry that any keystroke could jeopardize your identity or finances. Here are a few helpful reminders to remember when shopping online. 

  • Only shop from secure websites! The URL should begin with “https” instead of “http”. A secure website is encrypted, allowing you to complete your purchase and enter your personal and credit card information without being hacked. 
  • Create a unique username and password for each account you have. Most online retailers require an account for transactions on their website. If you have five different online accounts, and hackers break through using the only username and password you’ve created, they now have access to every account for which you use that log-in information. 
  • Never provide your Social Security number. Bottom line, retailers would never need that information to finish a transaction. 
  • Is your favorite retailer having an unbelievable sale? Almost too good to be true? If it is a real sale going on, the deal should be on the company’s website. If it says only valid through an email link, you probably should investigate a bit more. Many hackers use phishing scams where they create fake emails and websites to steal your information. They can send legitimate-looking emails with links to a fake website that is replicated so well you wouldn’t notice it’s not the real one until it’s too late. 
  • Never use free Wi-Fi at a public place when online shopping.  Hackers love free Wi-Fi because it’s easy for them to access your device and steal your info. When using public Wi-Fi, your data is usually not encrypted. 

If a deal seems too good to be true, it more than likely is. It’s important to pay attention to your monthly statements and credit card activity. Most credit card companies allow you to receive alerts for large purchases or even total purchases over a certain amount within a billing period. With these tips, enjoying the holiday season and online shopping can be had by all!

Did you know that your Homeowners or Renters Insurance can help protect you should your identity get stolen?  Contact your insurance agent to review your policy and learn how you can shield your finances with cyber and identity fraud protection. An added layer of protection can combat the possibility of falling victim to identity theft!

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