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Keeping your payment information secure

Do not be a victim of phishing or identity theft. These are some simple, yet often overlooked, steps to keep your payment information secure.

Don’t click links in spam emails. You have probably received an email from a stranger with only a link in it. Do not click at all costs as it would likely lead you to a fake website asking for personal information or introduce a phishing malware into your computer system.

Be watchful of warning signs. A professional online seller will take every effort to make a good impression online. Needless to say, websites with grammatical errors, plagiarized content, and low-resolution photos only show poor business etiquette and lack of professionalism. If you feel that as particular website demands information that are too revealing, then it is probably best to steer clear.

Check if a website is secure. Make sure the website URL is correct and not a fake version of a website. Security seals such as that issued by McAfee verify if a website has been scanned and certified secure. Security seals indicate that you are protected from identity theft, spam, credit card theft, and other threats while shopping on a website.

Strengthen your password. Strong passwords give you an extra layer of protection. (Using your birthday or your credit card number is not and has never been a good idea.) The best passwords are at least 10 characters long and a combination of letters (lower and upper cases), numbers, and symbols. If your browser asks whether or not you want the computer to remember your password, decline, especially if you use a public computer. If it can be helped, do not use a public computer at all.

Choose a secure payment method. A credit card is an ideal option for online shopping because under the law, credit card companies should reimburse you in the event that you get scammed. You might also want to look into a one-time-use credit card, wherein a randomly generated card number is used for every transaction and your real credit card number is hidden from identity thieves.

Use a secure network. Public internet access comes with online security risks. When making online purchases, use a secure and private network only.

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