Tips for Safe Online Shopping
‘Tis the season for holiday shopping and since many people will go online soon to purchase their holiday gifts, this is a good time for some internet safety reminders. Here are some ways to protect your personal and financial information while shopping online:
- Check your web browser settings to ensure that your pop-up blocker is on. Pop-ups can be used by scammers to get your credit card information by having you order a “free” product that happens to include a nominal shipping and handling fee. In addition, many pop-ups can lead you to potentially unsafe websites that may expose your computer to viruses or malware. The best thing to do is to enable your web browser’s pop-up blocker and to disable it only in those rare cases when you need to interact with a pop-up on a legitimate website to complete a task.
- Use security software that updates automatically. Keep your security software active and current, and set it to check for updates automatically. At a minimum, your computer should have antivirus and antispyware software and a firewall. Also make sure that any website to which you submit payment information is secured, beginning with an https:// and displaying a locked padlock icon.
- Don’t access sensitive information from public computers or public wireless networks. Hackers and identity thieves have various methods for capturing your financial information if you are making purchases from public computers or using a public wireless network. If you don’t have access to a private, secured internet connection, it’s best not to enter any payment information online.
If you are concerned about the safety and security of your information online, you always have the option to place an order over the phone or to purchase an item in the store. You can report online fraud to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or call an ElderWatch volunteer specialist at 1-800-222-4444, telephone option 2.