Secure Online Shopping
1. Make sure your computer has a firewall installed and keep your browser software and anti-virus program updated.
2. When you are done using a public computer, log off and shut down the browser program completely. This will prevent the next user from being able to hit the back button and discover your personal information.
3. Keep your computer current with the latest operating system, install updates and patches, and select the highest security setting possible on your browser to prevent unauthorized downloads.
4. Enable a pop-up blocker on your browser. Do not click any links inside a pop-up window, as they can install unwanted software. Instead, get rid of pop-ups by clicking the X icon on the title bar.
5. Buy anti-virus and anti-spyware software from a reputable vendor, keep it up-to-date, and use it to do regular scans of your computer.
6. Craft strong passwords with more than six characters and try to mix numbers and letters. Use a new password for each site and keep it to yourself. Never use one-click shopping on a public computer.
8. No online shopping store needs your social security number or your birthday to do business. However, if crooks get them, combined with your credit card number for purchases, they can do a lot of damage. The more they know, the easier it is to steal your identity. When possible, default to giving up the least amount of information.
9. Do not wait for your bill to come at the end of the month. Go online regularly during the holiday season and look at electronic statements for your credit card, debit card, and checking accounts. Make sure you don't see any fraudulent charges, even originating from sites like PayPal.
10. If you do decide to go out with the laptop to shop, you'll need a Wi-Fi connection. Only use the wireless if you access the Web over a virtual private network (VPN) connection.