Protect Your Information While Holiday Shopping Online

It looks like Santa’s workshop has moved from the North Pole to a new digital space this holiday season, as a record-setting 85% of U.S. consumers have reported they will be doing their shopping online this season. The elves at Amazon and other online markets will be hard at work getting packages sent to households on time in 2017.

If you decide to join the masses in online holiday shopping, protect your information from digital thieves looking to access your identity and credit card number. Nothing will dampen the holiday spirit like identity theft– the 300,000 victims of online-theft in 2016 can attest to that. The safe practices outlined below will help secure your online shopping.

Red Flags

We know. It’s sometimes just too tempting to click “buy” instantly when you find the perfect gift. But a little bit of caution will go a long way in avoiding online-theft. If the merchant is an unknown company, research them through the Better Business Bureau, read ratings, look for a concrete address and contact information, and even check out social media (do they have active accounts? Does the account respond to comments?). Another red flag of fraudulent businesses are too-good-to-be-true prices. Compare product costs and pictures with other vendors.

Public Wifi Networks

Stick to shopping from home in your pajamas– as nice as it is to shop while sipping tea at your favorite cafe, a public wifi network leaves your information available and ripe for the picking to any tech savvy thief. But, if you must have that cup of coffee to fuel your shopping, use a VPN (virtual private network). A VPN will encrypt the connection between the Wifi server and your device (laptop or smartphone), securing your actions online from prying digital fingers.

Passwords

Sorry, but “iloveshopping” is not a secure password. As annoying as it may be to come up with an impossible to memorize, mile-long password, follow these guidelines, and never use the same password twice– it would be like you and your neighbors all having the same locks on your front door and handing out the key.

When you’ve made it to checkout, use a credit card payment method whenever possible. Credit cards will give you better liability coverage than a debit card. Or, try a virtual credit card. Each time you use it a new card number is generated, and will be useless for anyone who gets a hold of the number.

All of these online shopping tips don’t expire with the end of the holiday season. Use them all year long and avoid digital theft in every season. Questions about your insurance policy, or looking to start off the new year with a new policy? Call BMR Insurance at 714-838-1911 for a free quote. Happy shopping!

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