Protect Your Privacy and Data During Online Holiday Shopping

Protect Your Privacy and Data During Online Holiday ShoppingToday is the last shopping day before Christmas, although I would bet a few of you will somehow buy something on Christmas morning; thank goodness for 24-hour minimarts.  A lot of us are doing more of our shopping online, which is both convenient and prone to abuse.  Protect your privacy by taking precautions and only shopping at retailers you trust.

If you shop at a trusted website, your credit card information should be safe and you are protected from someone stealing your personal information.  Reliable retailers take a lot of precautions to protect your data from hackers and insiders who might snoop.  The last thing a retailer wants is a black eye from a data breach.  You can probably think of a few sites that might be suspect.

In a recent article by Sue Marquette Poremba, “Better Security Habits Started During Holidays Should Continue All Year Long”, Sue talks about precautions ecommerce sites need to take to ensure they are trustworthy and can guarantee that all of us have a safe shopping experience now and into the new year.  While most of us may not think about the other side of the transaction, it’s important to understand how it works and what you need to know before shopping.

Here are some of the main points from the article.

  • Conduct research: consumers should check reviews about ecommerce sites to evaluate the “naughty” and the “nice.” Consider how you want your customers to review you. Do you want to have a black mark of a data breach on your record permanently? (Ask Target about that problem.)
  • When in doubt, throw it out: consumers shouldn’t fall for spam or phishing emails about your site. It’s tough to tell a real email from a phishing email anymore, so how do you want to get the word to your potential shoppers about sales without them worrying about it being fake?
  • Personal information is like money, so value it and protect it: consumers can only do so much to protect their personal information once they give it to you. What are you doing on the back end to keep that data safe? Are you encrypting passwords? How secure is your cloud storage? Is your software and operating system up to date?
  • Use safe payment options: Here again, the customer is depending on you. Are you PCI compliant? Is your mobile app secured with HTTPS?

 

You can help an online retailer by following these guidelines and alert them if you receive something fishy in your email or in a text message.  Make sure you only go to trusted merchants so you don’t get that letter in the mail saying something was stolen.

Enjoy the holiday season and enjoy all those online purchases.

 

Photo credit Jesse757

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