How to safely shop online

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Many of us are getting an early jump on online shopping as holidays approach and the pandemic continues. If that includes you, here are some easy ways to protect yourself from common online scams and data theft:

  • Use a credit card, not a debit card. Credit cards have added protections most debit cards do not.
  • Use secure devices and software. Keep web browsers, software, and devices up-to-date. Avoid public or shared computers.
  • Use a safe network. Avoid public and free WiFi, and use a VPN if you can’t.
  • Shop with trustworthy sites and sellers. Stick to businesses you know and trust, and compare descriptions and prices from multiple sellers to help spot scams.
  • Be suspicious of unusual offers. Avoid “too good to be true” offers from places you don’t know. Ignore email from unknown senders offering unusual deals that could be phishing.
  • Protect your personal information. Don’t save credit card numbers and other personal information in your web browser. Check out the privacy policy of shopping sites and who they might share your data with.
  • Avoid traps in email and pop-ups. Check links in email to make sure they really go to the right website. When in doubt, browse to a site yourself and avoid following links in email. Ignore pop-ups, especially if they direct you to another site.

See Protect Your Online Shopping for more information, and consider sharing tips with family, friends, and colleagues by sharing our PDF poster Shop Online Safely.