Millions of people shop online to take advantage of the incredible convenience. While most businesses online are legitimate, take a few simple precautions to help protect yourself from online fraud, and identity and credit card theft.
- Make sure your computer and browser are secure. Set your firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware software to automatically update and scan your PC. Keep firewall protection turned on and at the highest setting
- Don't create passwords that include easily accessed personal information, such as mother's maiden name or date of birth. Instead, use something unique that only you know and include uppercase and non-alphanumeric characters
- Don’t use the same password for multiple sites. This can help minimize the chance of a hacker gaining access to other accounts
- Don't give personal information over the phone, through the mail or on the Internet unless you know who you're dealing with, and preferably only if you've initiated the contact. Never give out your Social Security number, driver license number or date of birth. If you must share personal information, confirm that you are dealing with a legitimate organization
- If you receive an email asking for personal information, do not hit the reply button or click on any link in the email. Instead, go directly to the sender's website by typing in its web address
- Look for sites with an "s" in the web address (https:) and a closed-padlock icon in the web browser
- Double-check the web address to be sure you are shopping with the correct company. A typo can lead you to identity thieves
- If you're using a company's site for the first time, consider checking it out with the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org) or use a search engine with the name of the company and "fraud" to determine if other consumers have posted negative reviews
- Never respond to an offer by way of a spam or bulk email. If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is
- Avoid providing unnecessary information, such as annual income, spending habits, hobbies and lifestyle data
- Shop with U.S.-based companies. Domestic state and federal consumer protection laws apply. You'll be protected and have recourse should something go wrong
- Monitor account statements for unauthorized activity and report it immediately. Credit cards and check cards offer consumer protections in the event of fraud. Keep records of your purchases in case of any problems
Starion Financial is committed to making sure you have the information needed to help you shop safely and securely online.