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It seems like news of new data breaches hits the airwaves almost weekly. “If my accounts and personal information aren’t safe at my favorite retailers and restaurants, where can I shop?” you may wonder.

Sure, you could switch to using only cash, but that method comes with its own potential pitfalls such as losing your money or not having enough cash in your wallet to make a necessary purchase. Yes, you could avoid retailers that have been effected by data breaches, but how do you know that the next place you shop will be any more immune to hackers?

Though you may never be completely protected from falling victim to a data breach, there are several easy steps you can take to make it more difficult for scammers to take your information by stealing your personal information.

Part 1 – Using a Passphrase
Part 2 – How to Spot and Avoid a Skimmer
Part 3 – Staying Secure Online
Woman shopping online

Part 3 – Staying Secure Online

Many consumers are aware of the need to protect their personal information online, and with internet shopping on the rise, the topic of identity protection is more important than ever. In an April 2017 survey conducted by Statista, 40% of consumers polled reported having purchased items online multiple times in the previous month. 

Check out these five tips for protecting yourself when shopping online.

  • Avoid Public WiFi
    To protect yourself when shopping online, avoid using public Wi-Fi if at all possible. When connected to public Wi-Fi, you are vulnerable to having your information stolen by a criminal who is using the same connection. If you must use public Wi-Fi, pay attention for any alerts that unauthorized users are attempting to access your account, heed warnings about expired site certificates, and change your passwords once you are able to connect to a trusted network.

  • Use Mobile Apps
    If you are using your phone or tablet to conduct transactions with your financial institution or to make purchases from major retailers, use the business’s mobile app rather than logging into your account using your device’s web browser. Web browsers lack some of the security features of mobile apps making them easier for hackers to attack.

  • Only Shop on Secure Sites
    When accessing e-commerce sites, make sure the site is secure by checking for an “s” in the “https://” at the beginning of the URL. You will also see a small lock symbol in the web address bar that indicates the site is secure. Do not trust a site that does not have the “s.”

  • Use Two-Factor Authentication
    Take advantage of any offer to set up a two-factor authentication. This option will require two steps in order to log-in such as a password and finger print or a password and a code that is sent to your mobile device via text message. When you complete your purchases, log out of your account to prevent anyone else from stealing your personal information.

  • Update Your Internet Browser
    Many consumers fall victim to fraud when their internet browser is not up-to-date. Though it can be frustrating to stop and wait for an update to complete, this will ensure that your browser has the best protection against malware attacks.