Whether you do your online shopping for Christmas, Back to School or just to restock your paper-towels NERDS want to make sure that you protect your personal information while finding the best deals out there. NERDS put together their top five tips to follow for safe online shopping.
Safe Online Shopping Tip #1: Create some Cyber distance. Nerds recommend keeping some distance between your online shopping and your bank and credit cards by not using the same email account for retail logins and purchase confirms as you use for your bank login and password resets. Also, we suggest you don’t use the same password at retail sites as you do for your online banking.
Safe Online Shopping Tip #2: Protect your credit card number. Nerds suggest you never store your credit card or personal information with the retailer – un-check boxes that refer to “remember me”. Look and pay attention to small print and check box options as you click through confirm pages. Finally, find out if your credit card company offers a unique number for online purchases.
Safe Online Shopping Tip #3: Make your password smarter. Don’t use a word found in the dictionary, consider a pass-phrase or a word that integrates letters and/or symbols (for example, “d3ck the ha77s”). Never use the same password everywhere, if a thief should figure one out, they won’t be able to use it other places. Also, look to set up a customized confirm question, if possible. Try not to use your Mother’s maiden name or city you grew up in as it is easy to find that information out in today’s Facebook connected world.
Don’t feel compelled to constantly change your passwords. Keeping a written list around because there’s no other way you could possibly remember them is far more dangerous than maintaining one great pass-phrase.
Safe Online Shopping Tip #4: Beware of unsolicited emails or phone calls. Most reputable companies will not be emailing or calling to ask for such personal information. If you are unsure, always call the number on the back of your card instead of responding to a call or email.
Safe Online Shopping Tip #5:Only shop at trusted sites: Amazon is great for the novice online shopper due to the variety of products and simple interface. Otherwise, consider well known shopping websites and brand websites. If you must venture onto an unknown site, look for the https:// in front of the web address at check out, as it reflects that information provided to the site is over a secure connection. Finally, check out reviews of the merchant before you give them your personal info at sites like Google or nextag.com.
So, one of the first things you’re going to want to do is create a little cyber distance between your online banking and your shopping. So the best way to do that is to create several email accounts, one that’s pure junk. You just put your newsletters in there, you do your online shopping, another one that it is soley for your online banking, and then one that’s for family and friends.
The reason you’re going to segment this out this way is because if one of your email accounts gets compromised, they can’t go in and reset all your passwords, all your accounts and basically take over your cyberlife.
It seems like nearly everyday we’re hearing a new story about how a website is being attacked, passwords are compromised, and same with credit card numbers. What you want to do is protect yourself a little better by not storing your credit card numbers on the websites you go to shop at.
Another way to stay safe is change your passwords. We all want to use the same password on every site we go to and then we want to make it easy so we can remember it but unfortunately hackers can guess it too. Best way is to create a phrase instead of a word so something like nerds rule. And if you really want to get crazy, put in some capitalization and also change the letters to numbers so it would be nerds rule with a three instead of an e.
Be on the lookout for unsolicited emails or phone calls asking for your password or credit card information. Now, it seems fairly obvious that if somebody sends you an email that says you need to login in order to change your password or confirm an order that you never made but what if you do a lot of online shopping, specially around Christmas time? That’s when you want to be on guard.
If you have a smartphone like an iPhone or an Android, you probably get all your emails to it. You want to set up a password on your phone. That way, if you accidentally leave it behind in a cafe, nobody can get in there and reset all the passwords to your online banking accounts and your email accounts.