While it might be hard to think clearly with all the money-saving madness, keep in mind that even in this day and age, shopping online makes you vulnerable to hackers, scammers and identity thieves. Here are a few tips to help keep you safe:
Install anti-virus software. Particularly if you’re using a PC, downloading information online opens your computer up to viruses. Install anti-virus software on every computer in your home and make sure it is always up to date.
Be cautious with personal information. When filling out forms online, be sure the website you’re on is legitimate and you know how your information is being used. When friending and following people online, use the privacy features to control what others can see about you.
Only buy from secure sites. If you have to enter your credit card information, be sure the site securely transmits and stores your information. Check the site’s URL for the “s” after http, like this: https://.
Protect yourself. If you access the internet through a wireless home network, use a strong password to connect – you don’t want others to be able to access all the information stored on your computer. Don’t use your birthday, name or anything that would be easy for someone to guess. In addition, vary your passwords so that if one of your passwords is discovered, everything is not at risk.
Click carefully. Even if you know the sender, be sure know where a link from an email or other message will take you before you follow it. If you receive an email from a business, go to your browser and access the website yourself rather than clicking on the link.