Thursday, November 14, 2019

What can you do to Protect Yourself While Shopping Online?

Couple online shopping McHenry, Illinois

Gone are the days of thumbing through a catalog and circling items for your wish list during the holidays. Today’s consumers are hyper-connected and constantly seeking convenience when it comes to almost everything, but especially spending habits online. With many online retailers offering deals of the day, discounted or free shipping, and fast delivery, it’s easier than ever to shop online. In fact, studies show 76% of United States consumers shop online, and that number is projected to increase, there will be more than 300-million U.S online shoppers in 2023.

Today you can buy almost anything online and that’s why it’s more important than ever to protect yourself from fraud, especially during the holidays when it comes to breaches and cybersecurity attacks. Here are some tips to keep in mind when shopping online this holiday season to protect yourself from cybercriminals.

Shop reliable websites
When it comes to online offers the age-old saying if it’s too good to be true it usually is, still rings true today. While a great deal might be hard to pass up, fake companies and less-than-reputable websites take advantage of people by using fake photos of products at deep discounts to lure in consumers. Always use trusted URLs instead of clicking on links. Look for https:// (not http) in the address bar before using your credit card online.

Designate a separate card for online spending
If you’re worried about someone compromising your information you can open a separate account with a debit card specifically for online purchases. You can add funds to the account and use your card like a traditional card but the added benefit is if your account is compromised the cybercriminals won’t have access to your whole bank account, just what you have in the account which is typically less than a traditional checking or savings account.

Track spending online
When it comes to your finances it’s important to keep an eye on your spending activity so you are aware of anything out of the ordinary as soon as it shows up as a transaction and you can immediately call your bank. In addition, make sure you are regularly checking your credit report to ensure everything is in order.

Protect your passwords
As tempting as it is, try to avoid using the same password for every site. Try using the suggested passwords from sites, if they seem complicated there is a good reason, it’s for your protection. Make sure you write your passwords done and keep them somewhere safe, never on your computer or phone. A good rule of thumb is to make all your passwords long and strong. When able, try using multi-factor authentication.

Beware of seasonal scams
Unfortunately, cybercriminals use any means to scam during the holidays including fake tracking emails, e-cards, fake charities, donation scams, and more. If you are leery of a fake site always double-check to make sure it is a known and trusted URL instead of absently clicking on a link.

McHenry Savings Bank wants you to have a safe and happy holiday season. We are always here if you have a question about your cybersecurity. Visit McHenry Savings Bank to learn how you can protect yourself today, or speak with an expert today by calling 815-385-3000.