Whether you shop online or offline, you should be aware that all transactions involving personal and financial information come with some very real risks. Before you start your shopping spree, take these simple precautions to help prevent identity theft and fraud:
Make sure your security software is turned on, and is updated. Software updates frequently plug known security holes and provide protection against the latest online threats
Shop only on secure Web sites. A secure Web site uses a special computer communication known as Secure Socket Layer (SSL), which encrypts data and breaks it up so that outsiders cannot read the information. To ensure your purchase is protected by secure technology, look at your Internet browser for a padlock symbol in your browser or check to see that the address bar changes from “http” to “https”.
Shop with reputable merchants. If it is your first time shopping with a company, do your homework. Third-party verification devices, such as VeriSign, TRUSTe or the Better Business Bureau, can validate a site’s reputation. In addition, a reputable merchant will always have a phone number and contact information.
Use strong passwords for your online accounts and change them frequently. Never use your phone number, birth date, or name in user names and passwords. Always make sure passwords use a combination of letters, numbers, and other characters.
Be proactive. A credit freeze is perhaps the easiest and most effective way to prevent identity theft before becoming a victim.
TrustedID’s IDEssentials product suite freezes your credit, preventing lenders from offering new credit in your name without your consent. The benefits of online shopping can far outweigh the risks. In fact, due to recent online security breakthroughs, some believe that online shopping can be safer than shopping over the phone or even in person.
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