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If You are Shopping Online, You Need to Read This!

Hackers and scammers are always eager to get your information, but taking the proper precautions dramatically decreases your risks as a digital shopper.  Here are tips to protect your info as you virtually wear Santa’s hat during this holiday season.

Create Stronger Passwords

     A strong password can make all the difference between your information remaining secure and someone stealing it. You need to make your passwords as difficult as possible so that hackers and thieves can’t hack into your accounts. Avoid using common spellings of words and personal information in your passwords because these can be easier to crack. 

The trick is: complex passwords are trickier to remember!  So, go the whole mile and use a password manager.  We recommend Keeper Security. And, ICYMI, the holidays are here!  Want a unique and practical gift to give to your family?  How about a family account at www.keepersecurity.com, so that you can securely store and share credentials.  Just remember: if that password is super-secure but stored on the sticky note attached to your monitor .. . . Um, that doesn’t count.

Use Well-Known And Secure Sites

     In a hurry, and just wanting to choose the seller with the lowest price?  Watch out!  Extremely low prices for oft-purchased items are often the hook that bad guys use to try and grab you onto their site.

     The online world gives shoppers a multitude of options.  This can be great—but we must be wary.  Extremely low prices are quite likely linking you to untrustworthy web locations.  If it seems to good to be true, it probably is.  

Shop only on sites with a padlock and https (instead of just http) at the beginning of the web address. You guessed it: that S stands for Security. 

Chrome doesn’t display secure website addresses this way, though—yet another reason we don’t like Chrome.  Here’s what we recommend instead:

Use Mozilla Firefox As Your Primary Browser

     Firefox blocks social trackers from Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In. What does that even mean? Well, here’s a contrast: if you’re logged into Facebook from your Chrome browser, then Chrome enables Facebook to follow what you do and see online. Ever wonder why those ads are eerily relevant? This is why. 

Firefox, however, has the complete opposite setting: block the trackers. Firefox says “None of Your Business!” to apps and websites curious about your online actions.

     Bottom line: don’t use Chrome as your primary browser.  Use Firefox instead; its security and privacy settings are far and above other options.

Don’t Shop On Public WiFi

     Assume that public WiFi is insecure.  So, don’t enter personal information and passwords when surfing there.  Instead, use the mobile hotspot on your smartphone, or—even better—wait until you are in a known, private network to conduct business online. 

     Shopping online can be safe, but you must be watchful and wary.  Make sure the right security measures are in place before entering any information.