DENVER – The holiday shopping craze continues this Monday, as millions are expected to surf online for the best deals.
But before you start typing away, consider these safety tips provided by the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office to keep your personal information safe and away from malicious eyes.
1. Update your security software before you do anything else
Before you venture online, make sure your anti-virus, adware, spyware and firewall are up-to-date. This will be your first line of defense against hackers looking to sell your information online.
2. Use secure websites for purchases
What you want to do to make sure a website your’re browsing is secure, is to look for the web page URL first. A secure website will always end with an “s” after the “http.” If it does not, it’s not a secure website.
Another thing to look for is a little “lock” icon. The location of this icon depends on your browser. Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari will have it at the beginning of the URL.
3. Do not use a public computer or a public wireless connection to make purchases
It’s easy for hackers and cyber criminals to gain access to someone’s personal information over a public WiFi network, so please: No shopping at the mall, no shopping at the public library or at the airport. Shop online only in the comfort of your home.
4. Keep your information private and your password secure
Use two-step verification both in your computer and your phone. Yes, its tedious to use this in everyday life, but it’s better than to have your identity stolen and your bank accounted emptied out.
5. Do not verify anything you didn't initially access online
If you’re contacted by people who you never reached out to begin with, it’s best to avoid emails or texts asking you for verify information. BEWARE: These are scammers who want to steal your identity.
6. Shop with companies you know and trust
There are many sites out there offering big steals, huge savings and super bargains, but it’s best to go with reputable companies that have a good history of online customer protection.
7. Search for deals on websites, not search engines
Did someone tell you about some great gadget deal they saw somewhere recently? Don’t search for it on Google. Get to that site’s website and look for it there instead, lest you fall prey to an adware attack and have your information compromised in the process.
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