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The Resource Center Online Security Issues & Protection | article

Help Protect Yourself from Identity Theft when Shopping Online

Perhaps no other online activity poses more of an identity theft threat than online shopping. Because you have to exchange personal banking or credit card information online with the retailer in order to make a transaction, you need to take several steps in order to ensure that this data doesn’t fall into the hands of a thief. Along with looking into a credit monitoring service, follow these steps to help curb the risk of theft.

  • Conduct research – If you have never done business with a specific seller online, look into the site’s legitimacy before you hand over any financial information. Many internet retailers are in fact fronts for scammers looking to collect as much financial information – including credit card numbers – as possible to commit fraud and leave victims footing the bill. Look for phone numbers and mailing addresses for physical vendors who you can contact if you have an issue with your transaction.
  • Stay discrete – When you go to check out, you don’t have to put all of the information that they ask for on the form, just the starred items labelled as “required.” If they ask for personal information such as your Social Security number, there is almost no situation where this is required, unless dealing with a government body, and is a sign that this purchase could lead to identity theft.
  • Use safe payment options – Credit cards are generally your best bet when shopping online because they allow you to seek a credit from the issuer if the product you request isn’t delivered. Unlike debit cards, there is also a limit on the money you are responsible for paying if you do become the victim of identity theft, and you usually have up to 90 days to report the theft compared to a month with most checking accounts.

When you use your credit card to go shopping online, make sure you invest in a credit monitoring service to keep a closer look over the financial activity taking place in your name.