Tip of the Day

Protect Yourself While Shopping Online

Written by President and Co-Founder of reevert, Ara Aslanian

Online shopping is slowly taking over brick and mortar shopping and the conveniences are unmatched: no parking, no traffic, no crowds to navigate through. With Amazon becoming the norm and having same-day or Sunday deliveries, it’s safe to say that shopping is changing. App shopping has become the newest craze, especially in the fashion world with Instagram and Pinterest.

With so many benefits, it’s easy to ignore the major red flag: personal security. Shopping site databases have become an easy target for hackers. These databases store millions of credit card numbers and information that can be compromised in seconds. We’re willing to trade our personal security for the convenience factor of shopping from a phone.

Easy to crack passwords that consist of our date of birth and our mother’s maiden name are a treasure trove for the modern hacker. The majority of hackers use social engineering to gain access to your credit history and use it to gain access to credit under your name. Many sites are adding safeguards to combat the hackers but it’s a never ending Cat and Mouse game. However, there are a few ways to you can safeguard yourself while still enjoying the convenience of shopping online.

  • Use a phrase rather than a single word (i.e. “maytheforcebewithyou”)
  • Change certain letters to numbers (i.e. i can become 1, or o can be 0 - zero)
  • Change your password every few months
  • Create a fake birthday for your online accounts so if someone gains access to your account, they can’t use it to retrieve your personal credit data
  • Create a fake maiden name for your mother for the same reason stated above
  • Use one dedicated credit card for all online purchases so you can set a spending limit in the event of your account being compromised
  • Use Guest Checkout to avoid creating profiles on unknown sites and using a shield service such as PayPal
  • Set PIN’s for in-app purchases as two-factor authentication
  • I personally use Security Freeze Center at Experian ( https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html ) to lock my credit. It’s a great way to safeguard your personal credit information, so any changes or credit pulled require your authorization.

By taking these extra precautions, you could be saving yourself from financial fraud and identity theft. If you do shop regularly online, make sure to keep a close eye on your bank accounts and never sacrifice security for convenience.

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