Being able to bank or shop online is a great convenience, but you want to be sure you’re protecting yourself before you hit “send.” Here are six steps you can take to protect yourself when online.
Do your online banking/shopping from home
- You’ve probably taken steps to secure your home network, so it makes sense to do most of your online activity there. Public computers are convenient, but be careful about entering passwords and sensitive account information when using these machines. Many will keep your login data in the web browser history, so after you leave, the next person who uses the computer might be able to see what you typed and access your account.
Use Visa Checkout
- When shopping online consider using Visa Checkout. It helps make the online purchasing process easy and more secure. Pay with a single login from any device and it protects your information behind multiple layers of security. Use it anywhere Visa Checkout is accepted. Click here to learn more and to enroll.
Install Antivirus Software/Stay up-to-date
- Many antivirus companies will keep your anti-virus up-to-date, so luckily you don’t have to be a tech genius to stay secure against the latest threats. In addition to installing an antivirus program, the best protection is to install any updates for your operation system, web browsers, applications, and/or mobile devices. These updates typically include security patches to protect your devices!
Be smart with passwords
- Strong passwords include both upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols, and they can’t easily be guessed. Security experts recommend that you change your passwords regularly — at least once every few months.
Don’t skimp on mobile security
- Sometimes you may need to shop or bank online while you’re on the go. When using smartphones, tablets and laptops, you can help protect your accounts by adding a password to lock your device screen. Also, install a “find your phone” tool to help locate your device if it’s misplaced. Many such tools give you the ability to disable your device remotely, in case it can’t be recovered.
Remember, “secure” starts with an “S”
- Before sending over account numbers or other sensitive information, check to see whether your browser address bar begins with “https” instead of “http”. The extra “S” literally stands for “secure,” because the page is encrypted. In addition to checking for the “S,” you can also look to see whether the webpage has a seal from such organizations as the Better Business Bureau, Truste or VeriSign, which means the site is more likely to be trustworthy.
Check your online account
- No matter if you use a credit or debit card, regularly check your statement or online account for any strange expenses. When you’re banking or shopping online, you don’t want to leave an open door for hackers. So it’s best to secure your accounts and your devices to protect your hard-earned money.
If you’re on your own laptop or mobile device but using public Wi-Fi to access the Internet, you could run into similar issues. You can’t be sure the network you’re on is secure, and if it’s not, a lurking hacker could see any information you send. When you use public Wi-Fi, consider updating the settings on your device to make sure you don’t automatically join networks you won’t use regularly.