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March 30, 2011

Tips for avoiding Identity Theft when shopping online

Here are some tips from regarding how to avoid identity theft when shopping online.  I especially agree with tip # 2 - why risk your money when you can risk the credit card company's?!

1. Keep your internet security up-to-date

Updating your internet security, keeping your operating system and browser updated and securing your internet connection can all help to greatly minimise the possibility of a security breach. It is also important to regularly run anti-virus software.

2. Use a credit card over a debit card

Where possible use your credit card instead of a debit card for online purchases. This is important for two reasons. Firstly, if you do become a victim of online fraud and your personal information is stolen, the worse they can do is run up charges on your card. With a debit card this would mean they could drain your bank account. Credit cards are usually easier to dispute fraudulent charges over debit cards and also offer you an extra layer of security.

3. Use secure shopping sites

Always make sure that you use a secure site when submitting information like your credit card details online. Secured websites can be distinguished from unsecure sites in two ways. They use something called SSL and are usually identified by the display of a padlock or other icon in the address bar. The URL of secure starts should also start with https. Secure sites ensure that your personal information is encrypted as it travels across the web. If you are ever unsure, do not use it.

4. Be vigilant

Check your bank statements every month. Research shows that identity thieves often do a test charge to see the card works or not and may not take a lot of money out until months later. By monitoring your account regularly you can notice any suspicious account early and take action before more damage can be done.

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