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How to Shop Online Safely

Are you planning to shop online for holiday presents?

The holiday shopping season kicks off with stores opening late on Thanksgiving Day and then Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. The National Retail Federation estimates that 69% of Americans plan to shop during Thanksgiving weekend.

How to shop safely

Shop secure sites only. Always look for the https:// on a website before making a purchase; this “S” indicates that your purchase will be secured or encrypted, according to StaySafeOnline.org. If you’re not sure about an online site or store, check review sites to make sure it’s a real site.

Only use secured wifi networks. If you’re on a wifi network that doesn’t require a password, anyone can be on it. Never shop or log in to your online banking on an open wifi network; using your phone’s 4G or LTE data is safer. Also, make sure your personal wifi network at home has a password.

Secure your passwords. Use odd combinations of numbers, letters, and symbols for passwords to shopping sites, online banking, and emails. Don’t reuse passwords—every site should have a separate password. Keeping track of several complicated passwords is overwhelming, so look into these free password managers suggested by techradar.

Checking your transactions often helps to catch any mistakes early.

Use one credit card. Dedicate one credit card to your shopping needs. Using a credit card is best because they usually offer better protection if the card is lost or stolen: if you report a card stolen in a timely manner, you’re usually only liable for $50. With debit cards, you can be liable for $500 or more in spending that isn’t yours if you don’t catch it and report it within two business days.

Check your account often. If you’re not signed up for online banking, now’s the time to change that. Checking your transactions often helps to catch any mistakes early. You can monitor your accounts several ways:

  • Log into eBanking or our mobile app to check your balances. You can also set up custom account alerts for your text or email that notify you about changes with your account.
  • Monitor your debit or credit card usage with the CardValet app®. You can turn your card off if you misplace it, restrict spending to specific stores in your geographic location, and set up card usage alerts.

Use secure shopping methods to keep your cards safe. Mobile pays like Google Pay™, Apple Pay™, or Samsung Pay® or secure checkout methods like Visa Checkout allow you to shop online without using your card information, which can be vulnerable in a hack. Learn how to get started with mobile pays.