October 30, 2017 – October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. It is also the time when many of our members begin their holiday shopping. Nowadays, more and more people prefer to do their shopping online. You can find many great deals, often with low-cost or free shipping. Having an easy-to-access marketplace that’s open 24/7/365 where any product is at your fingertips is great, but it’s important to be cautious when shopping online. The tips below can help ensure your purchases are secure.
Use credit cards instead of debit cards when shopping online. Credit cards generally offer additional protection compared to debit cards because credit cards are not linked to funds you own. Additionally, credit cards have a limit to the amount you are responsible for if your account information is stolen.
Use secure online payment services (like PayPal). With these services, the retailer never receives your financial information – that limits the chances of your information being stolen. You can even link your Gulf Coast Educators FCU debit or credit card to your PayPal account.
Always look for the “https” URL when shopping online. The added “s” at the end of “http” means that the site you’re visiting is encrypted, so your financial data (such as your credit card details) are kept private. In most cases, the text in the URL is preceded by a padlock symbol, which also means your information is protected.
Avoid shopping via public Wi-Fi. Instead, opt for your mobile phone network. It may be more convenient to use public Wi-Fi, but there are many risks. Most hotspots are not secure, so your information is available for any hacker to use. If using your own data is not an option, there are many hotspot shield apps that you can purchase.
If an online deal seems “too good to be true” – avoid it. Be cautious of bait and switch scams and any website that looks questionable. Check to see if the site is reliable and if anyone has reviewed the product, company or deal.
Only share what’s required for your purchase. You’ll likely need to give your name, address, phone number, email and credit card information. It’s best to just fill in the required information fields that have asterisks.
Online shopping is great and convenient, but you should still be cautious when giving your personal information over the internet. If you do happen to have your card information compromised, GCEFCU will work with you to get your money back and everything taken care of.
Information is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal or financial advice. The views expressed are those of the author.