5 Great Tips to Stay Safe When You Shop Online

Check Reviews From Trusted Places

When considering a purchase from an online retailer, it's wise to seek out consumer reviews from reputable third-party sources. Platforms like Maps provide a wealth of customer feedback and ratings for various businesses from real users actively driving to and from businesses like yours. Navigation websites and applications (Apple Maps, Google Maps, Waze, etc.) typically provide more accurate reviews and less fake ratings! These reviews offer insights into the experiences of other shoppers and visitors, helping you gauge the reliability and quality of the products or services offered.

Look For The Certified Seal

When shopping online, the first thing to check is the trustworthiness of the website and business you're visiting. Certified seals, also known as trust badges or secure marks, are symbols that indicate a site's commitment to security and reliability. Look for well-known seals like SafeWebpages to ensure that the website has taken security seriously and has earned certifications from a trusted, unbiased third-party business verification service. These certifications often mean that the website takes extra steps to encrypt your personal information and has passed security assessments. Be sure to click the certified seals when you see them to verify they are authentic. Counterfeit seals do not lead to a verification site, as those cannot be forged.

Ensure They're Using SSL

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates are essential for safeguarding your personal information online. When shopping or providing sensitive data, look for the padlock icon in your browser's address bar, or ensure that the URL begins with "https://." The "s" in "https" indicates a secure connection. If a website doesn't have this extra layer of encryption, your data may be vulnerable to interception. Only businesses safely using HTTPS SSL on their website can become eligible for the SafeWebpages seal and business verification.

Use Strong, Unique Passwords

Creating a strong and unique password for each online account is a fundamental step in online security. Use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters, and avoid using easily guessable information like your name or birthdate. Do not use the same passwords over and over! To manage your passwords effectively, consider using a password manager, which can generate, store, and autofill complex passwords for you. Avoid storing passwords directly in your web browser, as this can sometimes pose security risks if certain websites are hacked.

Regularly Update Your Software

Outdated software, including your operating system, web browser, and security programs, can leave your device vulnerable to attacks. Keep your software up to date with the latest security patches and updates to ensure you have the best protection against emerging threats. Without the latest protection, you could leave yourself open to phishing scams targeting older software. Phishing scams are prevalent year-round, but they tend to increase during the holiday seasons.

By following these tips, you can protect your personal and financial information while enjoying the convenience of online shopping.

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