With 20.8% of retail purchases expected to take place online by the end of 2023 and with an increase in online sales during the holidays, now is the perfect time to share a few tips to assist you with keeping your personal information safe and secure.

*Shop from reputable websites. Stick to well-known and trusted online retailers or brands. Look for reviews and ratings to ensure the legitimacy of the website before making a purchase.

*Use secure websites. Always check for the “https://” and a padlock symbol in the address bar of your browser before entering any personal or payment information. This indicates that the website uses encryption to protect your data.

*Keep your devices updated. Your computer, smartphone, and browser should always be kept current with the latest security patches and software updates. These updates often include important security improvements.

*Use strong, unique passwords. Create strong, complex, and unique passwords for each of your online shopping accounts. Avoid using easily guessable information like birthdays or names. Consider using a password manager to generate and store strong passwords securely.

*Enable two-factor authentication (2FA). Enable 2FA for your online shopping accounts whenever it is available. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring you to provide a second form of verification, such as a one-time code sent to your phone, in addition to your password.

*Be cautious with email links and attachments. Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from unsolicited emails, especially if they seem suspicious. Phishing emails often try to trick you into revealing personal information or login credentials.

*Use a dedicated credit card. Consider using a credit card that is separate from your primary card for online shopping. This way, if your card information is compromised, it won’t affect your main finances.

*Monitor your accounts. Regularly review your bank and credit card statements for any unauthorized transactions. The sooner you identify and report suspicious activity, the better your chances of resolving the issue.

*Educate yourself about phishing. Learn about common phishing tactics and how to recognize them. Be cautious of emails, pop-ups, or websites that request sensitive information or appear suspicious. One of our partners, Proofpoint, shares examples of what phishing attempts can look like and how to avoid them.

*Use a virtual private network (VPN). Consider using a VPN when shopping online to encrypt your internet connection and protect your data from potential eavesdropping by cybercriminals.

*Regularly update your antivirus software. Keep your antivirus and anti-malware software up to date to help protect against viruses and other malicious software that could compromise your personal data.

*Check privacy settings. Review the privacy settings on your online shopping accounts and social media profiles. Limit the amount of personal information you share publicly.

*Steer clear of public Wi-Fi. Avoid making online purchases when connected to unsecured public Wi-Fi networks. If necessary, use a VPN to encrypt your connection.

By following these tips, you can reduce the risk of your personal data being compromised when shopping online and enjoy a safer and more secure online shopping experience!