The holiday season marks a time of the year known for joyous times with friends and family. Unfortunately, with the ever increasing shift towards online shopping, the holidays also represent a time of great risk; especially when buying gifts for loved ones. These tips offer a great start to decreasing your chance to falling victim.
1. Strong Passwords
One of the most tried and true online safety measures is ensuring you have a secure password on your online accounts. This includes involving a healthy mix of upper-case, lower-case, numbers, and special characters in that password.
This may seem like a no brainer to some, but far too many people still use simple entries out of convenience that create mounted risks which are never worth the extra moments it would take to remember and type in a complex password.
2. Familiar Sites
With the growing array of sites to shop at, it’s important to know that the ones that you visit are verified retailers. Of course, the reason for this is because when you’re shopping online, you are entering very sensitive information into these sites.
One way to spot a secure website is to check to see if the URL is certified and secure. If the given URL begins with “https”, rather than just “http”, it means that the owner of that site has gone through a validation process to ensure its security. You should also be aware of the domain in general.
Often times, phishing sites will mimic actual companies in an attempt to trick people into giving them that prized personal information (such as credit card numbers). Simply taking a second to ensure you are at a legitimate site can save you big in the long run.
3. Keeping Up with Balances
Not only is monitoring your checking account balances and reconciling purchases a good habit for personal finance; it’s also a valuable tool in staying secure while you’re actively online shopping. When you take note of your recent purchases, you can save valuable time when noticing unauthorized purchases and taking the steps to quickly stop any further damage from occurring.
Having all your on-line purchases on a single card simplifies the process and makes it much easier to track where you’ve been and whether the purchases are correct. Like many things, simplicity can lead to security as it’s generally easier to fortify and protect one spending card in contrast to multiple cards in multiple places.
5. Anti-Virus/Malware Software
In addition to all the practical steps you take to decrease your risk, having a solid base in anti-virus/malware software is always a smart idea for safety. Many times, our manual attempts can have a human error factor; forgetting one of the above steps simply happens and when it does, having software protection can make the save.
While deciding what software is right for you could be a much longer discussion, but professional providers often can help with this council. This is important because while it’s paramount to have some form of protection software, there could be a difference in your needs. For example, are you needing to protect a home PC or business network?
To be clear, advanced cybercrime is not going to be completely preventable, no matter what you do. These steps are a great way to begin to reduce your risk. Anything that makes your account more difficult to break into can go miles for your financial security.