by Alissa Griffith
If you’re like millions of Americans this holiday season, you may be getting some of your shopping done online. Stay safe while doing so with the following tips:
Update! The first thing you want to do is update your browser. Along with other benefits like improved functionality and speed, browser updates often come with increased security features that will keep you protected from phishing websites (sites that try to pry information from you in a fraudulent way).
Stick with what you know. Shop with companies that are familiar to you and thoroughly research those that are not. Check for third-party seals of approval, such as the Better Business Bureau, Verisign or TRUSTe certified stamps.
Use a Credit Card. There are many ways to pay online, but the safest is with a credit card because in the event something goes wrong, you are protected under the federal Fair Credit Billing Act.
On the web page where you enter your credit card or other personal information, look for an “s” after http in the web address of that page. (Encryption is a security measure that scrambles data as it traverses the Internet.)
Save your receipt! Print any confirmations you receive. Lastly, it’s easy to find a great deal online, but heed the old adage, “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is!”