Friday, December 18, 2015

Protect Yourself When Shopping Online

With the amount of online shoppers drastically growing each year, ecommerce is here to stay. With the ease of price comparison, wider variety of products, and the ability to shop from virtually anywhere, no wonder consumers are increasingly opting to shop the web compared to brick-and-mortar stores.

While there are many benefits to shopping online, it also comes with some hassles (no we are not talking about shipping). When making online purchases, you have to give out your credit card information, shipping address, and other personal information that can be used for identity theft and credit card fraud.

When shopping online:
Look at Reviews: Shopping on a new website for the first time? Look at reviews of the website. Oftentimes by doing a simple web search, you can find out if they are a trusted online retailer. This is especially true for products you find on social media. Sometimes products advertised on social media lead to undependable offshore retailers.

Use your common sense: If the website looks out-of-date, the company is outside the United States, or something doesn’t feel right, don’t purchase anything. Find a more trusted online retailer for your purchase.

Use a Trusted Computer and Wi-fi: You can help keep your credit card numbers and other personal information protected by using a computer with up-to-date antivirus, firewalls, and antispy software. When using public computers, consider if it's an updated computer. Oftentimes, web browsers automatically save information submitted into text boxes. Make sure that the web browser does not save any of your information.

Don’t use your debit card online: Because your debit card is linked to your entire bank account, you are subject to much more vulnerability if a thief were to access your card. Credit cards offer more protection for online purchases. Credit cards also allow buyers to seek credit from the issuer if your order isn’t delivered or it wasn’t what you ordered.

Look for HTTPS: Trusted websites will have a SSL (secure socket layer) encryption installed to protect your data. You’ll know if it has an SSL if the URL starts with HTTPS:// instead of just HTTP://. A padlock image will also appear in either the browser or the bottom of the page.

Never give out your social security number or bithdate: Online retailers never should need your SSN or birthdate to complete a transaction.

How St. Cloud Federal Credit Union services can help:
Keep track of your purchases: Access your account from anywhere at any time from your computer, tablet, or smartphone. Track your spending on the go.

Regularly monitor your credit score: Checking your credit score on a monthly basis will help you spot mistakes that you can address immediately. Visit our credit monitoring page for more information.

Safeguard yourself with knowledge: When spending money online, you want to take every precaution to protect your finances. St. Cloud Federal Credit Union offers information on general security education to help you protect your accounts and identity when making transactions online.

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