Online shopping has become an expected convenience. However, sharing personal information can put us at an increased risk of monetary loss or identity theft and could also result in a compromised credit rating. Tricks and scams are designed to catch our impulse to respond when we may be off-guard, anxious or in a hurry. They can be particularly difficult to catch if you know you’re expecting a package delivery or an online refund. So, always pause before you click or tap, and avoid “short-cut” links and unknown attachments. Whether it’s through email, text or voice, never reveal personal information in response to unsolicited prompts or requests for specific government identification, usernames, passwords or credit card details.
It’s also risky to use random Wifi networks when performing transactions away from home, because skilled hackers can intercept information shared over unsecured networks. Likewise, purchases should never be made and payments should never be sent to companies or organizations you have no prior knowledge of – unless it’s through a third party service, endorsed by your bank or credit card company, that has a clear guarantee or recourse for consumer protection. Finally, look into multi-factor identification for your accounts, which will require you to confirm any access attempt, and, always use complex passwords.