Staying Safe Online during the Holiday Shopping Season

Blog Moderator | Nov 19, 2012

verisignmaldetector.jpgThe holiday shopping season is now in full swing and if you are one of the 52% of holiday gift-givers that the National Retail Federation says will be shopping online, we found some good tips from the Mtn. Grove News-Journal that you should consider to help ensure your online shopping stays as safe as possible. Below are our five favorites from the list, but you can read all eight of their tips here:

  1. Update your software – Before you start shopping, make sure your virus protection, anti-malware and firewall software are all up to date, active, and set to update automatically. Check your browser to ensure it’s the most up-to-date version and if there are any security patches you should download.
  2. Be a wary buyer – If an online deal looks too good to be true, it usually is. It’s unlikely you’re really going to get a brand new iPad for just $10, so treat inflated offers with a healthy dose of skepticism. Scammers will often offer these “deals” as a way to entice you to provide personal and financial information that they can then use to steal your identity or your money, or to click on links that enable them to install malware on your device.
  3. Shop securely – Avoid sites that don’t have clearly identifiable protections in place. Web URLs should start with “https” – the “s” indicates “secure” – and look for a lock symbol toward the bottom of the page that indicates the online merchant has security software in place. 
  4. Do your homework – Check out an unknown vendor through reputable online resources like the Better Business Bureau. Look for consumer complaints. Check out consumer review sites to see what others have to say about the vendor.
  5. Shop on a trusted network – Keep your online shopping activities confined to networks you know are secure – such as your own secured home wireless network. Be careful using public networks or Wi-Fi hotspots for your online shopping – they may be easier for hackers to access.

Do you have any other suggestions for how to stay safe online?