Tips for Protecting Your Money and Identity Online
When it comes to being money-wise, most people suggest careful budgeting and smart spending. While you need to watch how much you spend and how much you save, you also need to pay attention to where and how you spend money.
More people than ever before are using their credit cards to make purchases online. Credit card safety with online shopping is important both for your financial health and for your personal wellbeing. If you shop online and your credit card information is compromised, you risk losing your hard earned cash and facing identity theft. Follow these smart online credit card safety tips to better manage your online purchasing.
Check Website Security
Before you use your credit card or debit card on any website, you should check the website’s security settings. Any site that you enter personal information into (particularly financial information) should have security precautions in place. The first thing to look at when using a shopping website is the URL. Look at the address bar in your browser. If the site says “https” in the address bar than the site is encrypted. This means that malicious people using technology to retrieve the keystrokes you enter on a site cannot figure out your credit card information. You should also be sure that there is a “locked” padlock symbol that appears in front of the “www” in the address line. This is another indication that that website is secure.
Never Auto-Save Info
Many of us have our favorite shopping websites. Whether you love shopping at Gap online or you frequent Amazon, it’s never a good idea to save your credit information on a website. By auto-saving your credit card number on a website, you put yourself that much closer to the risk of fraud and identity theft. While these online vendors will do their best to protect that saved information (if you do save it) and keep it secure, all it takes is one brief slipup. The wisest thing to do is annoyingly enter your username, password, credit card information, address, and whatever else manually each time you purchase something. There’s no point in making things slightly easier for you, if it’s going to cost you your entire bank account. Trust me.
Don’t Online Shop Using Public Internet
Another important guideline for online shopping is to do so from a secure internet connection. As mobile web becomes more and more popular, more coffee shops, doctor’s offices, and other public places offer wireless internet access. While this is extremely convenient, it shouldn’t be the place you do your online shopping. Using a public Wi-Fi connection is risky and unwise, if you’re doing something concerning personal and delicate information. There are various tools and methods that hackers can use to essentially “watch” your activity on a public connection. If this happens they can easily steal your credit card and personal information. If you’re going to shop or enter personal information online, do so from a private Wi-Fi connection.
Keeping your money safe is one aspect of being financial responsible. You want to be sure that you are not only spending your money wisely, but that you are also doing so safely. Online threats are more prevalent today than ever before. Use these tips to avoid losing money and suffering from identity theft that can cause problems with employment background checks, loan awards, and your credit rating.