December 9, 2009
Tis The Season To Be Jolly?: Avoiding Identity Theft
Avoiding identity theft when paying online is a hot topic in today’s virtual world of shopping ~ especially at Christmas time. Consumers from all over the world are in shopping mode for online specials. This may include buying groceries, paying bills, making online purchases, and more.
Unfortunately, many of these individuals have suffered tremendous
financial losses as a direct result of identity theft.
If you handle any financial business over the internet, it is important to be aware of a few essential safety tips that will allow you to do so safely.
- One of the first things that you should do when you are working on ways to avoiding identity theft when paying online is to make certain that you only purchase items on websites that are considered to be trustworthy. If you are interested in making a purchase, take the time to ensure that you are purchasing from a website that is considered to be “secure”. These websites often advertise that they have “secure payment systems”. In some cases, there are websites that use PayPal. You can trust purchasing through these websites.
- The next step to avoiding identity theft when paying online is to learn the steps that are necessary to spot phishing scams. This is a technique that is used by individuals who are seeking to steal your identity. These people will actually set up a website that resembles a website that you know and trust. If you come across one of these websites, it is very likely that you will enter in your personal information and not even realize that you are giving it over to an identity thief. Take the time to learn what types of things identify websites and/or phishing scams. One simple way to avoid it is to never give your password to anyone UNLESS you know who you're speaking with via telephone - I never give my passwords to anyone instant messaging me or via email — especially banking information.
- The next thing that you can do to avoid identity theft when paying online is to ensure that you set secure passwords to the websites that you frequent. For example, create passwords that include alphanumeric characters and even a symbol and at least 6 to 8 characters. Furthermore, you should ensure that you take the time to set different passwords for different accounts that you use. This way, if you get violated on one account, you do not have to worry about all of your other accounts suffering.
- If you use a computer that is in a public place, such as at work or in a library, you will want to ensure that you do not allow your personal information to be stored on these systems. If the information that you leave behind gets in the wrong hands, it can potentially wreck havoc on your life. You should always make sure that you log out of the accounts and that you leave no traces of your personal activity on these computer systems.
- Pay very close attention to the website you're shopping on and look for the https at the top of your screen. Https stands for "Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure," it's a protocol primarily developed with secure, safe Internet transactions in mind.
- Take your time shopping. Pay close attention to the shopping cart, what you're entering and the checkout process. Make sure your credit card information is not visibly seen on the computer you're using AFTER the transaction. Once you've finished, sign out of the website you're on.
- The next thing that you can do when avoiding identity theft when paying online is to ensure that you pick up a credit report at least once a year. If there are any issues when it comes to your personal and financial information, you will be able to tell by reading over the credit report carefully.
Online shopping is safer than you think however, it's very important that you take the steps to make sure your credit card information is not left open for anyone to see. Actually it's no different than shopping at the mall. Once you finish your transaction, grab your receipt and put your card in a safe place. This information is suitable for ways to prevent identity theft.
Contact me for a free 15 minute ecommerce solution consultation, I look forward to answering all of your questions.
Regina Baker is the co-creator of Wahmcart and the Ecommerce Solutions Expert for Group Mastery. She created Wahmcart as a full ecommerce software solution for work at home moms without the huge price tag. She's dedicated to educating the small business individual (sole proprietors) and companies with ecommerce solutions that will allow them to work smarter, not harder while at the same time providing an affordable solution that the “average” person can afford. More about Wahmcart