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staying safe online

6 Ways to Be Safer While Shopping Online

Shopping online allows you to get great deals and specials you may not find in a store. It’s easy to see why so many people are doing more of their shopping online. But there is another side to online shopping — the risk of scams and identity theft. However, don’t let it cripple your path to savings. Here are 6 ways to limit your risk and be safer while shopping online.

1) Use familiar websites from trusted brands. While this doesn’t guarantee your safety (nothing does 100%), it is the first step to limiting your risk. Well known, reputable brands have more to lose if they expose their customers to undue risk, so they are more likely to do what is necessary to help keep you safe.

2) Use strong passwords and change them often. Many online retailers provide the option to create a username and password. If you choose to do this, make sure to create a password that would be hard to guess (so no using birthdays and simple patterns like 12345). When possible, turn on 2-step verification. This is when after typing in your password, you will also be sent an email or text message with a code that you must type in before accessing your account.

3) Look for signs of the secure sockets layer (SSL). You can check if a site you’re using has an SSL by examining the address bar. The URL will begin with “https://” opposed to simply “http://” --- that “s” makes all the difference. In most cases there will also be an actual padlock symbol near the address bar as well. What an SSL does is ensure that the information you share (between your browser and the server) remains private. To learn more about SSL’s click here.

4) Get anti-virus/anti-malware software. Having this software installed on your computer helps to protect you from viruses, spyware, spam, etc. If your computer is infected with any of these, it can allow hackers to covertly collect your personal information. People without this software often don’t even realize their computer has been infected, so it’s best to always have it installed and to have the most up to date version.

5) Don’t use a public computer. There are numerous reasons to not use a public computer, but here are the few we’d like to highlight: people in the public space can look over your shoulder and get your personal information as you type it in, subsequent users can check the browsing history and review your activity, and the chances of viruses being on the computer are higher than if you were using a personal computer.

6) Don’t use public Wi-Fi either. When entering personal information on the internet, avoid doing so using public Wi-Fi hotspots. This article from CSO Online, shows you why you should never connect to public Wi-Fi.

If identity theft is a concern of yours, check out our Signature Banking account. It includes Identity Recovery & Restoration services. When it comes to protecting your personal information, there’s no such thing as being too careful.

Disclaimer

The material provided on this website is intended for informational purposes only. Links to other web sites are provided for reference and do not constitute a referral or endorsement by Pioneer Bank or its affiliates. Please note that such material is not updated regularly and that some of the information may not be current. It is recommended that you consult with a financial professional for assistance regarding the information contained herein.

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