Now that Christmas has come to an end, the best part has just begun – after Christmas online shopping sales. The marked down prices make it easy for you to get items you wanted for yourself, family or friends but were just waiting till after the holiday for the prices to be marked down.
However, with online shopping comes some risk in terms of exposing your personal information and credit card numbers. In order to avoid identity theft when shopping online, it is a good idea to take the following precautions:
1. Consider using a credit card rather than a debit card because credit cards have more protections against liability for identity theft.
2. Make sure that your computer is properly protected against viruses, keyloggers and spyware. Have internet software installed on your computer that has a firewall which can protect you from online intruders.
3. Make sure that the Web site you are on has protections. Check to make sure there is a security certificate (like VeriSign or eTrust) on the site. Also, check the address bar when you switch to the payment page. The “http” should change to “https” to indicate that things are secure. If that “s” doesn’t appear when you go to enter your credit card number, don’t.
4. When you have finished your transaction, log out of the site and your account, and then close the browser window. Many people have had their identities stolen by failing to take this simple precaution.
5. And, of course, throughout the year you should check your credit report. This way, you can catch problems early and take the steps needed.