Keeping your online shopping safe – By Bob Milliken

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Bob Milliken
Bob Milliken

During this holiday season billions of dollars will be spent online, and, unfortunately, there are those that will be looking to steal some of it. Make sure you’re not a victim.
Let’s face it, there’s every reason in the world to shop online. The bargains are there. The selection is mind-boggling. The shopping is secure. Shipping is fast. Shopping has never been easier or more convenient for consumers.
But what about the bad guys who lay in wait?  Sophisticated phishing attacks may take more of your money than you had bargained on. With a little common sense and practical advice you can shop online with confidence. Here are 5 tips for keeping your online shopping safe.

Use Familiar Websites
Start at a trusted site rather than shopping with a search engine. Don’t get fooled by “drive-by” sites – if you know the site, chances are it’s less likely to be a rip off. Beware of misspellings as search results can be rigged to lead you astray. Yes, the sales on these sites might look enticing, but that’s how they trick you into giving up your info.

Keep Your Transaction Secure
Never ever, ever buy anything online using your credit card from a site that doesn’t start with HTTPS//. The encryption within HTTPS is intended to keep your information confidential from prying eyes because only your browser and the server can decrypt the traffic.
AND, Never, ever give anyone your credit card in an email. Ever.

Don’t Tell All
An online shopping store doesn’t need your social security number or your birthday. However, if crooks do get them, combined with your credit card number for purchases, they can do a lot of damage. The more they know, the easier it is to steal your identity.

Check Statements
Don’t wait – go online regularly and review the statements for your credit card, debit card, and checking accounts. Address any fraudulent charges you see immediately.

Watch Out For Bogus Courier Emails!
Don’t let your guard down when it comes to emails claiming to be from couriers. Watch for “the courier company tried to deliver your parcel, but no one was home”, or ”the address wasn’t correct”, or “You need to contact the courier to check out the details and make arrangements so the delivery can be completed”.
If you happen to be expecting a delivery, the email may seem perfectly well-timed and, to help you out, there’ll be a web link or an attachment in the email that you can click or open to sort things out quickly. Don’t! If in doubt, call the courier company directly yourself – and don’t call the number in the email!
AND, of course, it goes without saying that your computer systems are well protected with multi-layered security systems.

Bob Milliken is the president of Cascadia Systems Group. Connect with Bob at TheITguy@CascadiaSystemsGroup.com, or give us a call – 604.270.1730. Your comments are appreciated –ComputerCents@CascadiaSystemsGroup.com