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10 Tips to shopping online without compromising your security

The world of online shopping… If you’ve yet to experience the thrill of a global shopping experience without leaving the comfort of your own home, then you don’t know the incredible selection of products you’ve been missing out on.

Shopping online using tablet |

If you’re worried about identity fraud and credit card hacking, you needn’t be with our top tips to avoid compromising your security.

Learn from the best

There’s no one better to get advice from than a former convicted credit card fraudster. Dan DeFelippi faced eight years behind bars after he scammed over $200,000. He got off with community service and was ordered to pay restitution, but now he’s using his powers for the good by giving advice to unsuspecting consumers. Here are his top three tips:


Be careful with debit cards

Debit cards give scammers access to your real money and bank account details. If you are going to use your debit card to shop online, make sure your computer antivirus software is up-to-date to avoid malware, and keep a careful eye on your accounts. You should never have to enter your PIN to make purchases online. If a site requests that or any passwords, leave it immediately.


Check your account statements on a daily basis

If you check them only sporadically, you could lose thousands before you realize what’s going on. Report any unusual activity immediately, even if it’s just for small amounts — they soon add up.


Check your credit report twice a year

Make sure someone hasn’t been running around collecting debt under your name by checking your credit rating regularly.

Other ways you can protect yourself online


MasterPass by MasterCard

MasterPass by MasterCard is a super-speedy and foolproof way to pay online. It offers added peace of mind with its multi-tiered security, uses secure encryption technology and provides zero-liability protection. All your details are stored securely online, so you can check in, shop and check out knowing you don’t have to worry about being scammed.


Don’t access your bank accounts while using an unsecured Wi-Fi connection

If you subscribe to the “if it’s free, it’s for me” philosophy when it comes to Wi-Fi hotspots, then you could be asking for trouble if you access your bank account from an unsecured connection. Scammers — more commonly known as sniffers — are able to capture data transmitted between your mobile app and the website you are communicating with. Scary, huh?


Use “https” sites

If you’re inputting personal info, make sure you are doing it on a site that has a “https” in the URL. If it’s just “http,” don’t input personal information.


Disable automatic connections

Turn off your smartphone’s or mobile device’s ability to connect to any open Wi-Fi connection.


Don’t ever use public computers

Avoid using public computers — those found in local libraries, internet cafes and shopping malls — to shop online or to access bank details.


Enable secure sockets layer (SSL) connections

If you’re travelling abroad, then enabling SSL connections will allow you to access your emails and favourite websites like Facebook and Twitter while keeping your personal information safe by encrypting the data.


Always apply the latest software updates

It can be tempting to ignore the latest version of iOS when it is released for your phone or iPad, but these updates might contain vital security patches that keep your information protected. This is extremely important given Apple’s recent SSL bug.


Don’t save your log-ins

It might seem like information you don’t need to know, but you’d be surprised how many people do it. It’s so much easier just logging in to an app with a push of a button than having to go through the process of logging in to your email, online shopping sites or even banking apps and trying to remember passwords. But you’re providing easy access if your mobile device falls into the wrong hands.

More on finances

Risk management and why it matters
Spring clean your finances
Savings lessons that can be learned from today’s retirees

Photo courtesy of John Lamb / Photodisc / Getty Images

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