ICLOAK - How to Protect Your Personal Data as You Shop Online this Holiday Season
The holiday season can be quite an exciting time of the year. From the beautiful decorations to the catchy songs, there is no reason to not embrace a little holiday cheer. However, along with all the joy the holiday season brings, it also brings forth an increase in criminal activity. This is especially true online.
In a time when online shopping is prominent, the internet has seen its fair share of increased criminal activity. From identity thefts to faulty products; customers are not sure who to trust anymore. So before you start your holiday shopping this year, be sure to check out these helpful hints!
Identifying a Secure Website Transaction:
Respectable online merchants will use an encrypted payment processing system. These networks encrypt data such as credit card numbers and other personal information. This process makes it nearly impossible for someone else to steal any of your personal details. Fortunately, it is very simple to identify a secure website transaction.
There are two key signs to notice when making a purchase online. The first is a change in the website’s address (URL). The URL should change from http:// to https://. The added “s” indicates the current webpage is secure. If you do not see the “s” while shopping or adding items to your cart, do not worry. It only needs to appear before you input your personal information. Along with the “s”, you should also notice a padlock on the left or right side of the address bar.
Only Make Purchases from Reputable Merchants:
It is very important you understand how to identify a secure website transaction, but it is also extremely important you know that the site owner can be trusted. Choosing which websites to trust depends on several things. Who published the website? What information do they want? What do you want from this website? These are all questions you should ask before making a purchase online.
It is typically a smart idea to only use reputable websites such as Amazon.com or online versions of websites you already know. For example, it would be a safe decision to make a purchase from WalMart.com or Targert.com. Both of these retailers are extremely trustworthy, thus making them a safe option to use when making online purchases.
Be cautious of websites that ask for personal details before they logically need them.
Use a Credit Card when Online Shopping:
When it comes to online shopping, using a credit card is much safer than using a debit card. If you are a U.S. consumer, you are protected under the Fair Credit Billing Act. You can also dispute charges with a credit company if you suspect fraudulent charges. It is also recommended you use a separate credit card for online purchases. This will allow you to easily monitor all of your online purchases.
Keep ALL Online Receipts:
After making a purchase online, you will typically receive a confirmation email. Be sure to double-check their accuracy, and keep all of them in a folder.
Trust Your Instincts:
If you are a little suspicious of a website, it is best to not make a purchase from it. It is also a good idea to avoid anything that may sound too good to be true. With over a million retailers available online, there is bound to be a reputable site in which you can make purchases from. Trust your instincts and never take unnecessary risks.
The Internet is a wonderful tool, but it is also a very dangerous place. However, if you take the mentioned precautions, you will ensure yourself a safe and secure holiday.
A serial Entrepreneur, With a broad base of experience from being a pet shop owner, working in radio, putting the first Virtual Reality Systems in Disney World, fundraising, import/export, cyber security, everything technology related, sales and marketing, to market research and channel distribution working for MTV Networks/Viacom, consultant to the National Science Foundation on SBIR funding proposals, and currently investing in real estate, startups, and founding and running ICLOAK, Inc.