Online shopping has made purchasing groceries, gifts, and home décor more convenient than ever.

This increase in convenience has also come with expanded security risks for consumers. Bad actors like hackers and scammers are getting more elaborate by the day, putting your personal information and money in danger.

Fortunately, online security is improving, and by being proactive, your online purchases can be some of the safest transactions you make. Below, we’ll take a look at the best ways to keep your online transactions secure.

Strengthen Your Passwords   

The first step towards online shopping safety involves strong passwords. Use different passwords for each account, and consider using an online generator for robust options created randomly. The longer the password, the better, and be sure to use a large variety of special characters and numbers. Keeping track of multiple passwords can be challenging, so keep a safe record of each account. There are many password apps that could also help you.

Use Familiar Websites   

Buying online with large, reputable stores or brands is typically a safe way to shop. Avoid third party websites and research any brands you don’t recognize beforehand. Internet scams have become increasingly sophisticated, so look for security icons, such as the security certificate (lock icon) on each website you visit to ensure your information is protected. Without these icons, it can be difficult to tell a legitimate retailer from a phishing scam.

Never Shop on Public WiFi   

Unsecured, public WiFi networks are a gold mine for thieves looking to steal your information. Never log in to your accounts, enter your card information, or make purchases while on shared public networks. Some networks you’ll encounter in public will be malicious and explicitly designed to steal your information. Be careful when using networks at places like coffee shops, airports or hotels.

Avoid Scams   

Internet scams are becoming increasingly harder to detect, and constant vigilance is required to keep your data safe. Sometimes, these scams come in the form of deals that seem too good to be true. Be sure to thoroughly research any “incredible” bargains before making the final purchase. Email scams also known as phishing scams are occurring more frequently. Remember to never click any links, download attachments, or provide information via email to people you don’t know. Scammers are proficient in creating emails that look like they’re from reliable companies (and personal contacts too), and they often tell a story to trick you into clicking or opening an attachment. Email spam filters will keep most phishing emails out of your inbox, but scammers are finding new ways to outsmart filters each day. It’s a good idea to add an extra layer of protection and educate yourself on how to spot a phishing scam.

Educate Yourself  

The more you know about the different types of scams and hackers on the internet today, the more protected your information will be. To learn more visit Evergreen Credit Union’s Fraud Center.

FINANCES FYI is presented by Evergreen Credit Union, serving all Southern Maine and committed to helping Mainers of all ages better manage their financial lives. | (207) 221-5000

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