10 online shopping safety tips #lifelock

10 online shopping safety tips #lifelock

Online shopping. It’s something I do every day of the week. I order my groceries online and they’re delivered to my door. I order shoes and clothing, supplements, appliances, and more from the comfort of my home. I do because it gives me a chance to truly comparison and price shop – something that’s much harder to do when you’re limited to the retail locations in your area.

I’ve been very fortunate that in all the transactions I’ve completed over the years, I’ve only had my information breached a few times. That said, those were some anxious times and I dealt with voiding charges made by thieves and then the angst of waiting for the money to be put back into my account.

But the larger issue that’s always plagued me is what else did the crooks do with my information? Is there someone out there who’s assumed my identity? I’ll never know until I get arrested for unpaid tickets or a lien filed against my house for unpaid debts. It’s scary!

Thankfully as we’re about to enter the busiest shopping season, there are ways to limit your risk. Before you shop Black Friday and Cyber Monday, take a moment to look over the checklist below to be sure you know the risks and the rewards of shopping online and how you can make it a little less scary.

online shopping safety tips including subscribing to LifeLock.com  #lifelockHere are my 10 online shopping safety tips:

  1. Make certain your browser is updated. That’s your first line of defense against rouge websites.
  2. Install virus software that scans websites and blocks you from entering sites which have been known to have behaviors which are generally assigned to virus or phishing attack sties. I use a firewall, anti-virus, and Malware checker full-time.
  3. Only shop at sites you’ve directly typed in the URL to access. Avoid using links received via email or posted in forums which may lead to a phishing site which can mimic a legitimate site. Many times the scammer adds details to the email/post which give it some authority or they offer a “too good to be true” deal to get your to drop your guard and click that link. Once you do, you may be directed to a URL that looks very much like the real store. Always check the URL to be sure you’re where you think you are.
  4. Typing in personal information? Make sure the URL begins with “https.” The “s” denotes that the site is secure. Make a habit of checking for the URL or padlock icon (depending on your browser and operating system) as you shop. If you’ve upgraded your browser (see #1), the name of the site should appear in green in your address bar when you’re on their secure site.
  5. Make sure the website is legitimate. Look for 3rd party confirmation (BBB, Truste certified, etc).
  6. Use strong passwords. Passwords that have a combination of upper and lower case letters plus numbers are the safest. A minimum of 8 characters is recommended.
  7. Don’t give the company any more information than necessary and don’t allow them to store your credit card information. I personally pay via PayPal whenever possible so that I don’t have to share my debit card info.
  8. Clear your browser and avoid shopping on “free” Wi-fi connections where you’re not in control over the security settings.
  9. Keep a paper record of your transaction and track your spending and charges as they come in.
  10. Consider LifeLock for those times when you’ve done everything right but the company gets hacked. Zappos is a large, tech savvy online retailer who’s been hacked – no company is impervious. LifeLock can help identify suspicious behavior on your account and help you get things back on track if your identity does get stolen.

Even knowing the dangers of shopping online, my habits won’t be changing any time soon. The convenience and selection makes it worth the risk for me.

LifeLock identity protectionWant more info? LifeLock offers tips for shopping safely this holiday season, among many other recommendations for everyday living, on their website. Check out their How To Protect Yourself page.

LifeLock Black Friday Twitter Party

Join LifeLock on Black Friday, November 23, 2012, at 3pm PST to celebrate the greatest shopping day of the year. Follow hashtag #LifeLock