Protect your money and your identity when shopping online during the holidays.
The holidays are here, which means it’s a stressful time for many. Between the family, the travel, and the gifts, there’s no shortage of things to worry about between now and the New Year. But there’s one potential threat to a happy holiday season that most of us don’t spend much time thinking about: online shopping safety. More than ever, people are doing their holiday shopping online. How can you ensure that your personal information is safe? Follow these security measures so you can shop stress-free.
- Make sure you can trust the website
Don’t just hand your credit card information over to a website without first being sure that it’s a legitimate business. Each passing holiday season brings a record amount of online sales, which attracts fake businesses looking to steal your credit card information. Stick with businesses that you’re familiar with and have shopped at before.
- Pay with a mobile wallet
When shopping on a mobile device, mobile wallets like Apple or Android Pay are more secure than using your physical payment card. This is due to the mobile wallets encrypting the transaction data and using substitute numbers in place of the real debit or credit card number.
- Don’t get lazy with your passwords
Sometimes we fall into the trap of using the same two or three passwords for everything, but it’s important to switch it up and create new ones, especially when you’re online shopping. To make it easy on yourself, use a password manager like LastPass or Keychain so you can simply keep track of all your logins.
- Be stingy about what you share
Retailers want as much information about you as possible so they know how they can reach you for future sales, but you should never provide more than your email address and payment info if possible. If the only way to buy from an online retailer is by setting up an account, take your business somewhere else.
- Utilize credit card security features
Look into registering for security features through your bank. You can login to your credit card account and get a temporary credit card number so that the retailer never sees the real account number, making it useless to hackers. Programs like Bank of America ShopSafe and Citi Virtual Account Numbers are perfect for this feature. Turning off your card when you’re not using it is also an effective way to keep your information safe.
Avoid the Holiday Headache
The holidays come with enough baggage and stress, don’t give yourself another reason to reach for the eggnog. Make sure your personal information is secure when shopping online so you can focus on spending time with family and friends instead of on the phone with the credit card company.