In this age of technology, there are many ways a fraudster can steal your personal information. When shopping or banking online, remember to take these sensible tips and precautions to protect yourself and your financial accounts:
Beware of online threats and keep your computer up to date – Protect your computer from viruses and other threats by regularly updating your computer’s operating system and running antivirus/malware (malicious software) scan to stay safe.
Use strong and unique passwords – When signing up for an account in e-commerce sites, use numbers and symbols aside from letters when creating a password. Don’t use your card’s pin or re-use other passwords. Don’t use family names or birthdays.
Use secure networks – Secure your wireless router at home, fraudsters who can access your network can hijack your internet connection and steal personal information from your computer. Avoid using public wi-fi when purchasing online. Turn-off your Bluetooth when not in use.
Browse more safely – Check the URL and make sure that it has SSL (secure socket layer) encryption installed. You’ll know if the website has an SSL if there is an “https” connection and a padlock icon or any digital security certificate to ensure that you are entering your information on a site that encrypts the transaction end-to-end. Turn-off your browser’s autocomplete settings to avoid unintentionally storing your card information.
Research your retailer before purchasing – Visit trusted sites. Beware of misspellings or sites using a different top-level domain (.net instead of .com, for example)
Too good to be true? – It probably is! These “coupon scams,” online contests or retailers offering big discounts are most commonly advertised in social media. Trust your instincts. Never agree to share your personal information just to participate in a promotion.
Be sensible where and how you use your cards – Make sure you use different passwords for every account you make with an online retailer. When logging in, don’t type your personal information out in public view where people can see your screen. Remember to log out to your account after making a purchase.
Keep your information safe – Identity theft can be avoided by keeping your valuable documents secure and destroying unwanted files by shredding them. Don’t respond to any suspicious emails, text messages or phone calls. Never give your account details or debit/prepaid card information over email or post any personal information in social media.
Keep track of your transactions - Print or save records of your online transactions, such as product description and price, online receipt, including emails you send and receive from the seller.
Call your bank – Report any suspicious transactions to your bank immediately. Always keep the bank updated with your contact information.