Safe Online Shopping

    7 minute read
    Safety and security tips for online shopping
    What more can be said about 2020? The year that upended the way we live, work, and shop. As our nation continues to adjust to life in the pandemic, more and more of us are spending our hard earned money in a different way – online. From groceries to gadgets to gifts, we’ll spend plenty this holiday season, and while most transactions will be safe, security is not always a guarantee. 
    Whether you’re a savvy shopper or bargain hunter, we want to make shopping online as safe and secure as possible by minimizing your exposure to risk. To do so, we’ve gathered a few practical tips to help safeguard your personal and financial information, and keep it out of hackers' hands.


    Shop What You Know
    You’d be surprised how easy it is to be re-directed from one site to another without even realizing it. There’s always Amazon, and beyond that, big box retailers and mall mainstays are great because if there’s a problem with your order or transaction you can always resolve the issue in person.

    Should you find yourself browsing a website that’s not familiar, just take a measured and cautious approach before any transactions occur. Be skeptical. Read reviews. If this vendor is not reviewed or has a lot of negative reviews, please take your business elsewhere. And no matter what, if something seems “too good to be true”… run. Trust us when we say that if an online store is promising too much at too low of a price, something is not legit.

    Beef Up Your Password
    We’ve heard this many times, but it’s worth repeating. The most important advice you can follow—have a strong password. A safe, secure password is all that stands between your most private information and people who want to steal it. Using the same password on multiple sites makes you an easy target. Take time to change it up. If you want to be virtually hack-proof, use a password generator and manager that will keep track of passwords designed to be long, complicated, and, perhaps, not worth a hacker’s time to crack.

    Your Safe Word Is “S”
    When it comes to cyberspace, being “safe” can be easier said than done. You’ve found the perfect gift and you’re ready to check out, but first, verify the site’s legitimacy. How do you know it’s secure?  One of the quickest ways is to look for “https” at the beginning of a site’s address. If you don’t see the “s” at the end of “http,” you can bet it’s not an encrypted website, which means you and your data are definitely at risk. For your peace of mind, just remember shopping with an “s” means you’re all set.

    Watch Your Wi-Fi
    Where would we all be without free hotspots? But for all the convenience they bring, that’s exactly where you’ll find hackers vigilantly hunting your personal information. Public networks, no matter where you are, are not secure and any information you enter is at risk. If you’re on a public network, whatever you do don’t log-on to your bank account or sites like PayPal—and be sure to log-out of any of mobile banking apps before connecting.

    Spend Wise & Pay Smart
    While we certainly don’t advocate overspending with your credit cards, shopping online is actually one time when your plastic might be the best choice. When shopping on the internet, stick to credit cards or services like PayPal instead of a debit card.  Your debit card is a direct link to your bank account and much easier to hack, whereas a credit card carries protection with less liability if stolen.

    Keep Calm & Keep Checking
    We’ve all been there—you shop, you spend, you splurge, and the last thing you want to do is check your balance. But you should check it, and often. Don’t wait for the end of the month to review your spending. Financial health starts with making a habit of regularly viewing your credit card, debit card, and checking accounts—especially during the holiday season. Keep your eyes peeled for fraudulent charges, and if you see something, don’t wait. Pick up the phone and quickly address the charges and your concerns.

    Wrap it Up
    At Credit Human, we understand that spending is an essential function of everyday life, and online shopping creates a world of convenience literally at your fingertips. But as online shopping continues to grow and becomes more and more accessible to us through sites and mobile apps, know that the cyber marketplace will also remain a haven for hackers and scammers doing their best to get their hands on your personal and financial information. As you wrap up this year with wrapping paper and bows, we want you to enjoy the holidays, but most of all we want you to be safe and secure knowing that you can count on us for the advice and resources you need whenever, wherever—even while you shop.