University of Phoenix instructor and IT expert, Jim Dearman, offers the following safety tips to help those who prefer to do their holiday shopping online:
1) Be skeptical of all unsolicited emails. Never supply your username, password, account number or any other personal information via e-mail.
2) Shop at company websites you know are reputable. Look for a privacy statement and third party site seals like BBB and security badges.
3) If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. No one in Kenya or Nigeria is dying to send you money and you probably didn’t win the UK lottery.
4) Don’t use the link received in an unsolicited e-mail. Type the website address into the address bar to avoid being sent to a fake website, created with the sole purpose of phishing (i.e. acquiring your account information). Your bank and credit card companies don’t need you to log in and re-enter all your information.
5) Enable the phishing protection provided by your browser.
6) When you provide any personal information at a website make sure encryption is ON. Look for https: in the address bar or the lock/key on your browser. If it isn’t ON, your information is sent in clear text and can be read by anyone that captures the web communication.
7) If you think your username/password information has been compromised, log into the real site and change your password as quickly as possible or contact the company.
8) Pay by credit card but make sure the page has encryption ON (see 6 above).
9) Check your bank and credit card statements often. Most are available online and are easy to review.
10) THINK before you CLICK.