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10 Tips for Safe Online Shopping

The coming weeks and months will see a big spike in online shopping activity.

Cyber and data risks
Connectivity is a priority for everything, but it’s not risk-free

1. Update your home antivirus and operating systems to ensure that your personal data remains protected. Consider running regular scans on a weekly or monthly basis.

2. Go to familiar websites rather than searching for stores through a search engine and be wary of sites using a different top-level domain (for example: .net instead of .com). Double check the name of the web address.

3. Use websites that are recognized by TRUSTe, VeriSign or Better Business Bureau Online. Avoid buying items from mass emails and/or pop-up windows. Also look for the “Verified by Visa” or “MasterCard Secure Code” guarantees, which make online payments more secure.

4. Check if the web address starts with “https” and contains the padlock symbol to indicate that you are sharing your information on a secure site.

5. Always log-out of websites after placing an order and keep a copy of the confirmation email for your records.

6. Return safely to the site. Make sure you have different passwords for different log-ins and websites.

7. Don’t give out personal information, such as birthday dates and national ID’s, no online shopping store needs that information.

8. Regularly check your monthly electronic statements. If you notice something wrong, call your provider quickly to resolve the discrepancy.

9. Avoid using debit card and banking accounts, stick with credit cards. Most credit card companies have purchase protection, plus it won’t drain your bank account.

10. Don’t use public computers to make purchases and remember to log out even if you’re just checking your email. And if you’re using your personal computer in a public area, make sure that no one else can see your screen with your personal information or try to use virtual private networks (VPN) to make purchases.

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