You may have been given the all-clear to shop in-store now that COVID restrictions are just a bad memory. But why go through all the trouble of making your way to a store when you can shop from the comfort of your home?
Browsing from home means you can skip the crowded malls and long lines in real life. But your comfy spot on the couch can lull you into a false sense of security where you develop some bad digital habits.
While they won’t automatically expose you to fraud, bad habits increase your chances of becoming a victim, especially if you live in a fraud hotspot like Florida, Texas, or California. A state like Florida has higher rates of fraud, which means your baseline risk is already higher than most.
Regardless of where you call home, kick these habits for safer online shopping this year.
Bad Habit #1:Using the Same Passwords for Every Account
Doesn’t it feel like every website requires a password these days? It can be hard to remember them all, so you might be tempted to use the same password for each one — from your loyalty account with a favorite retailer to your online line of credit account.
Using one memorable password means you won’t forget your login credentials, but it increases your risk of fraud—even if it’s a strong password.
According to the South Florida Reporter, a strong password consists of random words and numbers that don’t relate to any of your personal information. But even a strong password can weaken when overused.
All it takes is for one of these websites to get hacked. In one data breach, you’ll expose the email and password combination for all your financial accounts, including your banking, taxes, and line of credit.
Cooking up a unique password when you borrow cash online in Florida can help you to protect your line of credit and every other account you have.
Bad Habit #2:Letting Browsers Remember Your Details
If you find it hard to remember all your unique passwords, you might allow your browser to remember these details for you. Most browsers will also autofill your contact details.
When you save credit card numbers, contact information, and passwords in your browser, this information can be accessed by anyone who uses your computer or the same Internet network.
Most browsers aren’t secure enough, so this information can also get hacked with malicious spyware like Redline.
While it may take some more time, it’s safer to input these details the hard way.
Bad Habit #3: Shopping with Unsecured Wi-Fi
If you aren’t ready to do all your shopping online, you might juggle both in-person and online shopping at the same time. If Footlocker is out of the right-sized sneakers for your son, you can hop onto their online app using the mall’s free Wi-Fi.
While you might feel clever using this digital trick, it leaves you wide open for fraud. That’s because fraudsters can hijack your session and spy on what you do. They can see everything from your login credentials and mailing address to credit card numbers.
You should always wait to make online purchases until you’re on your home Internet.
This applies to any financial task, too. If you want to check your bank balance or pay off your line of credit, wait until you’re on a secured network.
Kick Your Bad Habits to the Curb
You can keep your personal information safe and take advantage of online shopping this year by following these tips.