Tag Archives: online shopping

Secure Holiday Shopping: Tips on How to Stay Safe

This Post was written by Bridge Technical Talent
Date posted: November 27, 2017

secure holiday shopping

Image: https://www.invespcro.com/blog/global-online-retail-spending-statistics-and-trends/

There’s no doubt you’ll be doing some, if not all, of your holiday shopping online this year. While most of us do it, statistics show that only 29% of us have privacy concerns. You may be in the holiday spirit, but there are others who come out during this season looking to hack and steal identities. Reports from 2016 show that $16 billion was stolen from about 15 million U.S. consumers. Exercise caution during your shopping because as we all know, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Passwords, passwords, passwords
Even though it might be easier to reuse the same password for almost every account, change this habit! Each time you create a password it should be unique, complicated, and only used for one account. Use a mix of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. It’s also a good idea to completely overhaul your current passwords before we’re fully in the swing of the holidays.

Don’t save your information
Many websites boast a faster, hassle-free checkout if you simply have them save your credit card information. This may be tempting, but just don’t do it. You lose control of your information when a third party site saves it for you. Take the extra two minutes to find your card and enter in its information when confirming an online purchase.

Finalize purchases at home
Sure, it can be a blast to sit at Starbucks and scroll through gift ideas while you enjoy your beverage. Just make sure you don’t actually purchase anything while using public wifi. Not many of us have access to a VPN, so it’s safer to brainstorm your ideas while in a public space, but don’t do any purchasing until you’re home. Even then, double check that your URL reads https:// and make sure there is a padlock in the address bar. If you don’t see either of these, you’ll want to cancel that order and try again somewhere else.

Don’t follow email links
Countless scams are conducted via email. If there’s a great deal being advertised, then it should be visible on the company’s website. Avoid following links, shortened bitly links, or coupon codes, especially if you see it on social media first.

Stay up-to-date on all your accounts
You should consistently monitor your bank accounts all year round, but be extra diligent during the holidays. Monitor the purchases you’ve made and cross reference your receipts to ensure everything lines up. Use a credit card to make online purchases; this way, the money is not withdrawn directly from your account. If there is a purchase that doesn’t look familiar, contact your bank immediately to rectify the situation.

Use websites you trust
Just as you would be weary of a brick and mortar store if something felt a bit off, exercise this same caution online. If you can, stick with trusted, big-name stores like Amazon. Many times the apps from places like these have an extra layer of security, so consider using them to make purchases if you have to while in public.

We wish you didn’t have to worry about something as negative as identity theft during your holiday shopping, but unfortunately it’s a real threat. Use caution and be smart about any online purchases, and this season will pass by smoothly!

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5 Steps for Smart and Safe Online Shopping

This Post was written by Bridge Technical Talent
Date posted: October 31, 2013

Safe Online Shopping Tips

Photo credit: http://identitysafe.norton.com/

Make sure you’re using safe online shopping habits this holiday season.  With our hectic schedules, it can be daunting to find the time for holiday shopping, and we often rush to make quick purchases. But we have to be careful – it’s easy, but not as simple as just finding and buying, and the seeming ease of online shopping can get us into trouble that is much trickier to get out of down the line.

Before we begin our online shopping sprees this season, there are some security measures we need to keep in mind.  Here are five tips from Bridge to ensure that your valuable personal information stays safe during the holidays, and always!

1) Use your OWN computer.

Seems obvious, but countless instances of online fraud stem from people using public computers and leaving their credit card information accessible and unprotected.  Whether you want to buy the latest Samsung or Apple product or the last of that olive green yarn for your sweater-knitting traditions, you should always use your own computer or that of someone you trust.

2) Shop on FAMILIAR sites.

Only shop through sites that are trustworthy and reliable. If a site seems questionable, save your future self the hassle, and try one that’s better-known and reputable. Never take chances with your credit card information!

3) That LOCK is key.

When making online purchases, make sure the site features a secure sockets layer.  An easy way to tell is to check to see if the URL reads https://, not just http://.  There will also be an image of a padlock in the address bar.  If you don’t see either, we recommend you try another site before entering any personal info.

4) Be mindful of SHARING INFORMATION.

Think about what the site is asking for in terms of your personal data before you can make a purchase.  You should only need to provide basic information when online shopping.  Never, ever, release your social security number – it has nothing to do with that holiday gift you’d like to purchase, and it’s more than likely a scam!

5) CHECK your bank statements.

Always review your bank statements prior to the end of the month. Cross reference your receipts and make sure all of the numbers and transactions line up.  You can never be too careful when it comes to your personal cyber security.

The holidays are just around the corner.  You’re making a list and checking it twice – so why not be just as prudent and prepared when shopping online?  The season will be much merrier the less you have to worry about the safety of your online shopping excursions.

Those perfect holiday gifts are just a hop, skip, and a click away!  No lines or wait; no traffic, no crowds – when you’re a safe online shopper, holiday deals abound!

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How to Protect Yourself while Shopping Online

This Post was written by Bridge Technical Talent
Date posted: October 20, 2013

How to Protect Yourself while Shopping Online

Image Credit – http://www.flickr.com/photos/stormkatt/

As you make purchases on different sites, are you making sure to protect yourself while shopping online? Last year, Cyber Monday, the online counterpart to Black Friday, set the standard by becoming the biggest day for online shopping in history.  People flocked to their favorite online retailers with the hopes of snatching up the best deals.  Already in 2013, the excitement is mounting as retailers prepare for the influx of holiday web traffic, which may be even greater than last year’s record-setting numbers.

At Bridge, we get excited about the holidays and the great deals we can find online, but we also urge caution. Frenzied online shopping can often lead to security blunders, so this year, as an early holiday gift and to celebrate Cybersecurity Month, we’re offering some basic tips for how to protect yourself while online shopping and stay safe online this holiday season.

Make Sure Your Software Is Up To Date

Be sure that your computer or mobile device has the latest version of security software installed before embarking on your shopping extravaganza. Perhaps an early Christmas present to yourself can be the 2014 version of Webroot’s SecureAnywhere Antivirus software.

Bulk Up Your Passwords

While you may be in the holiday spirit, there are plenty of others who see this season as an opportunity for hacking, identity theft, and other crimes.  Secure your online activity by changing, and perhaps enhancing, your passwords – your name and birthday simply won’t cut it these days.  Don’t use the same password for everything. Include letters, numbers, symbols, and both upper- and lowercase letters. Read more helpful advice on how to create strong passwords.

Shop at Home on a Private Network

Doesn’t the joy of online shopping stem from being able to do so from the comfort of your own home?  Rather than actually shopping online from your local Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts, use time in public spaces as a chance to determine what purchases you want to make. Maybe even ask your neighbor for his or her opinion on what to buy a loved one, but always make actual purchases at home on your closed private Wi-Fi network.

Download Official Apps

Many of us plan to use our mobile devices to complete our shopping sprees this year.  Let’s make sure we use our smartphones wisely.  Only download apps that have been developed and distributed by official retailers, such as Amazon, Walmart, and Barnes & Noble.

Track What You Buy

Make organized chaos of your holiday shopping by keeping track of your purchases.  It’s critical to look for each online purchase to come through on your bank or credit card statement.  Make sure you are being charged the proper amounts and see only those transactions you expect from retailers you know and trust.

Follow these tips, and enjoy a safe holiday online shopping season this year!

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