It can happen to anyone and it’s really pretty easy: all you have to do is enter your information into a suspect field or two and then — ZANG! — suddenly your bank’s calling you because you’re trying to rent hotel rooms in Barbados.
(And if you get that call, consider yourself lucky, it could be much worse.)
So, in the interest of keeping everyone’s info safe and secure this holiday shopping season, we’ve scoured the web for the best tips and tricks to keeping your ID safe.
Use a dedicated internet shopping credit card, and make sure it only has a limit of about $500 to a $1000. This way, if you do make a mistake, it will be relatively manageable.
Most people won't have to rearrange their entire lives to fix a $500 mistake.
We've all heard how awesome and super-unhackable Mac computers are -- but it's usually not the computer that makes the mistake ... (it's the human).
Having an up-to-date security software will help identify any potential threats, before you even enter you credit card info.
This should seem obvious, but if you do your 'Cyber Monday' shopping on a mobile device, make sure that device locks.
If someone steals it from you, and it doesn't lock, they'll use the credit card info your browser likely stored in order to rent hotels in Barbados.
Patches and software updates are incredibly important in keeping up with potential threats on the web.
If your browser hasn't been updated, update it before you go on your shopping spree. It's worth the five minute wait so that the browser can help you identify shady sites.
The S is huge here, and it means that the browser or site your are using is encrypted, adding another level of security.
If the website you're about to enter your credit card number into does not have the S next to HTTP, then take a second to think about whether you want to divulge information to that site.
If it's not there, just type it into the address bar prior to typing in the site address -- 'https://amazon.com.'
You can find these seals in the corners of the website.
On the payment page these seals should be the most prominent element on the page.
If you're not sure and you can't find the seal, here's a bonus tip: google the name of the online site your on and see what other people have said about it.
These public wifi networks are notoriously porous, and can easily allow hackers to glean your the info you're shooting off into the internet.
This means no shopping at Starbucks, no shopping at the bar, and no shopping at that hip little place where you like to eat brunch.
Save the actual purchasing for home or another secure network.
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