< 1 minute read|Published by FAIRWINDS

5 Must-Knows for Safe Online Shopping

While online shopping is an easy way to make purchases, it's also an easy way for fraudsters to trick you into costly scams.

Woman holding a tablet while looking at her credit card

Online shopping makes it easy to purchase everyday essentials, find the best deals, or pick out the perfect gift in seconds. Online shopping is also easy for fraudsters to trick shoppers into costly scams. Here are some essential online shopping tips that can help keep your personal and financial information secure.

Watch for deals that are too good to be true.

Look for well-known names and official brand websites. If you see posts on social media or receive an email promoting a deal that seems too good to be true, it probably is. These phishing tactics often share brand-name products for an extremely low price. Once you click the link and make the purchase, you'll likely never receive the product, and the fraudsters will now have access to your credit card information.   

Before entering any payment information or personal details, check that the website's URL starts with "https" and that there is a padlock symbol in the address bar as shown below. The 's' shows that your connection is encrypted and secure, making it harder for hackers to steal your information.

You can also research the online retailer or seller before making a purchase. Check for reviews, ratings, or any potential red flags. Stick to reputable websites and sellers that have positive feedback.

Pay with security and peace of mind.

When it's time to check out online, use secure payment methods.

Each purchase made with your mobile wallet online uses a unique virtual card number that protects and hides your actual credit or debit card numbers. Using your mobile wallet may also require your fingerprint or face ID to ensure it's really you making the purchase.

Avoid public Wi-Fi.

Avoid making online purchases when you are connected to public Wi-Fi networks, as they are not secure. That means anyone could see what you are doing on your device while you are connected, making it easier for hackers to steal your credit card details, passwords, or personal information. Limit your use of public Wi-Fi and avoid logging into your accounts while connected to these networks.

The more unique your passwords, the better.

Make sure you have strong, unique passwords for your online accounts. If one of your online shopping accounts gets hacked, and you use the same password, hackers can try to access all your accounts with that one password.

Avoid using easily guessable information such as birthdays or common words. Instead, use a unique combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. Consider using a reputable password manager to keep track of your different passwords securely.

You can also use multifactor authentication or two-step verification to secure your accounts. This security feature sends a unique code via text message or email that must be used to access your account. 

Keep an eye on your accounts.

Set up Account Alerts within your FAIRWINDS Mobile App or Online Banking to be notified in real-time about changes to your account balance, withdrawals, deposits, and more.

By following these online shopping tips, you can shop confidently. Remember, it's not just about finding the best deals; it's about safeguarding your personal and financial information in the process. Shop smart, pay securely, protect your data, and stay alert!