The holidays are just around the corner and with that brings a surge in online spending – and what’s not to like about it? It’s fast, convenient and accessible with the click of your mouse. You might wonder, then, how all your transactions could be safely transmitted without any risk of having your banking information accessed by third parties that could compromise your privacy – the answer is, in most cases, it isn’t.
No worries, though – we’ve got you covered.
Follow these 5 tips to stay protected this Holiday season:
1. Passwords – Make it Count: if you need to create a user profile to access certain promotions, be sure to choose a password that is strong and complicated to decode. Password decoding software can decipher passwords in seconds; using a mixture of upper and lower case letters, symbols, and numbers is your best bet (or you can use a free password generator: https://passwordsgenerator.net/). If that’s too difficult to remember, you can use a phrase: IAmTheGreatest1985! In any instance, don’t re-use the same password for multiple accounts – remembering multiple passwords may seem like a daunting task but a very necessary precaution in staying vigilant with protecting your information.
2. Public Wifi – Look but don’t touch: Data is expensive in Canada, so we understand the urge to connect to wifi wherever possible. That said, connecting to secure or moderately secure wifi connections at home or in your workplace would be ideal; public wifi is not secure, making it easy for someone with the right tools to hack it and have access to your information. If you need to use it to browse or window shop, that’s fine – but leave the actual buying and transactions to when you’re on a secure connection.
3. Shop on familiar websites – Stick to what you know: There are plenty of e-commerce sites going up daily and as an avid shopper myself, I happily welcome it. What you may quickly realize, however, is that there are even more sites that are created merely to collect your credit card information. And even if it’s the “Season for Giving”, that’s not exactly the type of giving we had in mind, right? Right. Stick to retailers that you’re familiar with; companies that have a physical address and contact information to be held accountable if things should go wrong.
4. Don’t click on e-mail links – Better safe than sorry!: with all of the Black Friday deals that just passed and Boxing Week sales fast approaching, you can expect to receive a dump of promotional e-mails from any and every list you’ve ever subscribed to. While some of these deals may catch your eye, be vigilant in checking the source of the e-mail before clicking on any links embedded in it. If you’re really interested in the promotion but you’re not sure of its source, you can always visit the retailer’s website and manually type in the product you’re looking for. Et voila!
5. Virtual Credit Card – Futuristic (and secure) online shopping: In an effort to battle the prevalent world of fraudulent credit card schemes, some credit card companies offer virtual credit cards for online purchases which essentially generate unique numbers that are associated with your account intended to be used on a one-time basis. This makes it virtually (see what I did there?) impossible for fraudsters to re-use the information they’ve collected to make subsequent transactions. Ask your credit card provider today for heightened security options that may be available to you.