We all love the convenience of online shopping. With just a click, practically any product can be bought and whisked to our doorsteps in a day or two. But there is a trade-off for this convenience. You could be putting your information at risk when buying online.
That’s where we come in! Here are five tips on how to shop safely and be sure your credit is secure online.
Shop with Caution and Common Sense
If a website doesn’t seem legit, try to find the item at another site. Many of the major e-commerce sites work hard to secure your personal information. Most payment acceptance services that small retailers use are also secure. If a retailer asks you to do anything out-of-the-ordinary, such as email a copy of a credit card, take your business elsewhere.
Look at Your Navigation Bar Before Typing Personal Info
The URL, or website address that you are shopping through, should start with HTTPS. The “s” is for security, and a plain HTTP site doesn’t use encryption, which protects your information. The site you initially navigate to will likely have an HTTP address, but once you go into checkout, it should switch to HTTPS.
Make That Credit, Not Debit
You can add your own layer of online credit protection by only using credit cards for online purchases. Fraudulent purchases on a credit card can be disputed but a bad debit card charge hits you right in the checkbook. Make sure you constantly monitor your credit card activity, too, so you’ll know when unauthorized activity occurs.
Keep Tabs on All of Your Credit
Identify theft is a real threat, and your best defense against it is personal credit knowledge. Every 12 months, you are allowed a free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus. Take advantage of free credit reports to see if anything odd is afoot. If you think something strange is up with your credit but you are not eligible for a free report, you can buy one for around $12.
Put Your Credit on Ice
If you believe your personal data has been compromised, don’t go into full panic mode. You can put a freeze on your credit profile — which will stop anyone from taking out loans or credit cards under your name. Be careful when freezing your credit, though. It will stop you from opening new lines, as well.