Holiday shopping online - Tips for keeping personal info safe?

Holiday shopping online - Tips for keeping personal info safe?

This year I'm trying to stay ahead of the season and do my holiday shopping early. Since brick and mortar stores seem to hold their deals back until more traditional shopping days (like Black Friday), and since I am seeing a lot of sales already online, I am considering doing most holiday shopping online as a result. Of course, trying to keep holiday presents from impacting family finances too much. Smiley Happy

 

My question for the community is - How do you choose the online retailers you work with? I think it's safe to say that most of us are concerned about the personal and financial information we share with retailers online. Are there ways you've discovered to stay safe, or tips you can share on how to choose the retailers to shop with when everything online seems vulnerable?

 

Is there a database of retailers who have had their websites compromised? Or ones who do more to protect your information than others?

 

Sorry for all of the questions, it just feels like now more than ever it's a hail mary throw when you put your information out there. 

4 REPLIES 4

Re: Holiday shopping online - Tips for keeping personal info safe?

Great question! I do so much of my shopping online and I've definitely shopped at retailers that have experienced security issues. When I am shopping online I think I am more cognizant of buying from somewhere reputable (so I actually receive the stated product) instead of the larger risk of that retailer making my personal information vulnerable. Our sister site, Knowledge Place, has a great article with tips on this subject 'Identity Fraud: What You Need To Know'. Maybe start with the smaller things mentioned? I am not sure if there is a way to 100% prevent your data from ever being compromised. Anyone else have insight/tips to share?


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Janice James - W+H Community Manager
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My goal is to connect people who share a passion for staying well and building wealth to ensure healthy, comfortable futures. Let me know how I can help!

Re: Holiday shopping online - Tips for keeping personal info safe?

I don't think you can protect yourself against fraud when shopping online. But I have to say, every time my account or card was compromised it was because of a petrol station or liquor store. I have not facts for this, but I think you are more exposed using your card on ATM's or small shops than any of the chain retailers that have money to put towards security and IT technology.

 

I check on my bank statement at least once a week to report anything suspicious. I believe that's the best one can do.

Re: Holiday shopping online - Tips for keeping personal info safe?

You probably have a credit card and a debit card. One of these links directly back to your bank account. The other does not. If fraudulent activities occur on your debit card, this takes money from your account. Money that you may already have earmarked for your rent, mortgage, bills, groceries, etc.. Once that money is gone; you are still responsible for your bills while resolving the fraud charges and getting your money returned. Using a credit card that is not connected directly to a checking or savings account can save unwanted aggravation.

 

Auto bill pay is an option many services, utilities, and financial institutions offer. Becuase we hear about websites having breaches regularly it is best not to have your payment information distributed across a large number of sites. Instead of having a company pull the payment from your bank, it is easier to have your bank push the remittance out to the other sites and services. If fraud happens, you don't have to update your account info on multiple websites.

 

The above is helpful for utility and bill payments but, what about online shopping? Well, the same principle as above can be applied if you use a payment processor such as Paypal, Apple Pay, Google Pay and such. Your payment info is in one place, and the transaction may not share your credit card info with the vendor, it may be a unique transaction ID generated just for that purchase. Plus, you have the fraud detection and alert service as well as the issue remediation services of those payment processors on your side in case of disputes.

 

If you have to set up an account on a website, do not use the same password as other sites. If a website breach happens, that password won't allow a criminal to log into any of your other accounts.
Use long unique passwords, but they are often hard to remember. So use a password manager such as LastPass, Dashlane, or KeePass.
Another option is to write the site, username, and password down in a notebook. An online hacker can't hack a paper notebook kept at your desk. Just tuck that notebook safe safely away from prying eyes.

Re: Holiday shopping online - Tips for keeping personal info safe?

Great tips @lnxdork! Thank you so much for sharing your tips in such great detail. I totally agree with trying to use a credit card instead if you have one. Really helps mitigate the inconvenience of fraud. I'm sensitive to the fact that not everyone does though, so one thought I can add is that if you know you'll be shopping online and are concerned about the risks involved and don't have a credit card to use you can go to say, a Walmart or Target, and buy a prepaid card to use online for your purchase. Smiley Happy


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Janice James - W+H Community Manager
BE WELL. BUILD WEALTH.™
Get started in the community.

My goal is to connect people who share a passion for staying well and building wealth to ensure healthy, comfortable futures. Let me know how I can help!