Shopping online this holiday season? A few tips to protect yourself against identity theft.

Black Friday will have masses of shoppers taking to area malls and stores, while many will opt to shop online from the comforts of home over the weekend and on Cyber Monday. Whichever way you choose to shop, remember that identity thieves could be lurking, waiting for a slip-up and an opportunity to steal your identity.

Technology today goes well beyond pick pocketing or taking an unattended purse.

Identity thieves have so much technology at their fingertips to steal credit card numbers and build a personal profile on an individual. Let your guard down, for even for a moment, and you could have your identity stolen.

If you are shopping online this season, here are a few quick tips to keep your identification safe:

  1. Always initiate the transaction yourself. Do not open a store’s website through an email you received. It could be a phishing email looking for credit card information. Physically type in the web address of the outlet. Once there, look around carefully and make sure it is the actual website.
  2. When entering credit card information as part of transaction, make sure the web address starts with a secure extension, shown as https://.
  3. If you shop online in a public location, like at a library, make absolutely sure that you log out when you are finished with a shopping session. Click on the back button to make sure that your information is not still there. Close any stray windows open on the computer screen. If you print a receipt, remember to take it with you.
  4. Shopping at the coffee house? Use their approved, secure wi-fi server. Do not use an unfamiliar, unsecured wi-fi server in public.
  5. Use your credit card wisely when shopping online. The added convenience of shopping from your couch might cause you to drop your guard and spend beyond your budget. Make a budget for your shopping and stick to it.
  6. Put any printed online receipts in a safe place.

For more tips to safe online shopping, log on to GreenPath University. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving and holiday shopping season!

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