- Make sure your security software which includes anti-virus protection is up to date. Not having up to date security makes you a much easier target for viruses and other unwanted intrusions.
- Only shop at a secure site. A secure site has “https” at the beginning of its website address. “https” means that the site is secure and that it encrypts the information that it sends.
- Be very careful if you use a public wireless network. In the event there is a keystroke logger on that public computer you are using or sniffer intercepting data over a public Wi-Fi network you do not want to put information out there that can compromise your personal information. Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) will lower but not eliminate your risk. See my post on computer safety in public. http://computerconciergeny.com/3/post/2012/09/computer-safety-in-public.html
- Use credit cards instead of debit cards. Credit cards offer a much better level of protection when compared to debit cards. Further a debit card may put a freeze on your bank account that is in excess of the amount you are purchasing.
- Always monitor your account statements to ascertain that there are no unauthorized charges to your account. An aside here is to NEVER give out personal information should you receive a phone call, email, letter, etc mentioning that there is an issue with your account. Hang up (if it is a phone call) and call the number on the back of your credit card. The person calling could be trying to get personal information from you in order to steal your identity.
- As more and more purchases are being made from mobile devices, password protect your smartphone and/or tablet. Should it fall into the wrong hands, personal information is much more difficult to get.
- You should have a different password for every account you use and the passwords should be difficult to crack. See my post on creating strong passwords. http://computerconciergeny.com/3/post/2012/06/you-need-secure-passwords-for-your-accounts-how-to-make-one.html
- I have spoken about using Two-Factor Authentication (AKA 2FA) in the past. Click here for article I cannot emphasize this enough. If someone gets your password that alone will not allow them to access your account. They also need the code that is delivered to your phone, token or other device. From accounts, if John Podesta used this on his email account, Hillary Clinton may be our president-elect and not Donald Trump.
- Phishing scams are more common at holiday time. If you receive an email saying that personal information is needed (passwords, social security numbers, birthdate, etc) do not give this information out. Someone may be trying to steal your identity.
- If your credit card company offers a temporary credit card which allows you to set an amount and timeframe for using it think about using it.
- Be careful clicking on links in emails. They may not take you to the site you think you are being taken to. Many phishing scams involve emails from what seem like legitimate sites such as banks, online stores, etc but the links send you to a phony site where they can gather your information to steal your identity.
- For those who are still concerned about shopping online, when you go to a restaurant do you pay by credit card? If so, that card goes through your waiter, cashier and who knows who else. There are a few chances to get the information needed to charge purchases to the card.
If you have additional questions about shopping safely online or other technology issues, I can be reached at (917) 572-3468 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I wish you a very Happy and Safe Holiday Season.
Readers Of The Computer Concierge NY blog "Making Your Computer Personal" Also Read:
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