Irvine, CA (PRWEB) December 24, 2008
Despite all of the technology to help keep us safe from identity theft, consumers still need to be smart about shopping online, especially during the holidays. Included are some helpful tips.
Know who you're buying from
It's always a good idea to do business with companies you already know. Reliable companies will list their physical business address and telephone number online. If in doubt, do some research.
Use a credit card to shop online
The safest way to shop online is with a credit card. You always have the right to dispute charges, if necessary, and withhold payments during a creditor investigation.
Shop at secure Web sites
When you're asked to provide payment information, the beginning of the Web site's URL address should change from http to https or shttp, indicating that the purchase is encrypted or secured.
Don't use obvious passwords and user names
Identity thieves are very clever. That's why you should be extra careful when creating passwords and user names. Avoid using your birthday or the last four digits of your Social Security number.
Never give out your Social Security number
There is no reason to reveal your Social Security Number while shopping online. If you're requested to provide it while placing an online order, cancel the order immediately!
Don't take the bait on a phishing scam
Beware of official-looking "phishing" emails for popular shopping sites. Legitimate companies don't send unsolicited email messages asking for passwords, user names or financial information.
Don't open files from strangers
Don't open files, click on hyperlinks or download programs from strangers. It could expose your system to a computer virus or a program called "spyware," which could capture your passwords.
Secure your computer
Make sure your computer has anti-virus and anti-spyware software, as well as a firewall. You can set your security software and operating system to update automatically.
Keep a paper trail
Print and save all records of your online transaction, including receipts, invoices and any correspondence between you and the online company.
Turn your computer off when you've finished
Scammers can install malicious software on your computer without your knowledge and then control it remotely to commit a cyber crime. After you've finished shopping, turn your computer off.
You can have the peace of mind of complete identity theft protection every day of the year, not just during the holidays.
ProtectMyID.com is a leading, full-service provider of proactive identity theft detection, protection and fraud resolution. ProtectMyID.com offers comprehensive identity theft protection products supported by experienced identity theft resolution professionals who deliver personal attention that customers can rely on. ProtectMyID.com is a Web site owned by ConsumerInfo.com Inc., an Experian company. For more information about how ProtectMyID.com helps consumers protect themselves against identity theft, please visit ProtectMyID.com (http://www.ProtectMyID.com)