7 Tips to Protect Your Identity While Shopping Online


It’s important to look after your safety when shopping online. Though clicking through a website might be the most convenient solution for buying your entire family holiday gifts, learning how to prevent identity theft and stolen credit card numbers can prevent you from a financial fiasco. Use these tips:

1. Avoid shopping on your phone, especially in a public place

Any skilled thief can study your online transactions and leap at the chance to steal your identity. Instead, shop safely at home on a computer.

2. Use sites that have links that start with https

The ‘s’ in that stands for ‘security,’ which means any information provided through the website is encrypted and cannot be accessed by just anybody. Carefully check out sites you want to shop on but don’t have these ‘s’ at the beginning of their links.

3. Check

Read testimonials, browse reviews, ask around, and check with the Better Business Bureau before shopping on any unknown site. If the site doesn’t have any reputation, it might be okay to use, but don’t take the chance.

However, if the people you ask and testimonials you read state that this site is not the smartest idea, don’t try it no matter how appealing the deals are.

More: 7 Reasons to Shop Online rather than in the Store

4. Check your anti-virus software

A popular one is McAfee, which blocks viruses and gives you warnings if you’re heading to a bad website. Is your software up to par? Don’t shop online before you know you’ve got a program to back you up in case you run into trouble.

5. Read the fine print

The first block of fine print you need to read is a site’s privacy policy. Thoroughly read and understand the entire thing.

If you need to, highlight important portions by printing them out or with a Kindle or Smartphone. After reading the privacy policy, if you still think it’s a good idea, go ahead and begin your transaction. But when any dialog box pops up that asks you to check something, read what it says.

If the site’s got a list of terms available, don’t just skip over it like normal. Read through it and understand it.

6. Avoid using a debit card

There are federal acts that can protect you from major financial harm if your credit card is stolen, but a debit card doesn’t have the same luxury. Make sure you’re using your credit card when shopping online.

More: 8 Useful Tips for Online Shopping

7. Be wary of sites that ask for your Social Security number

These sites are most likely not safe. If you think about it rationally, why would any website need your Social Security number to get you a couple of gifts? If this question is asked, turn away from the website.

With these tips in mind, breeze through holiday shopping online, but be careful! Avoid identity theft by applying these techniques online.