Safe Online Shopping Tips
Online shopping has brought consumers a level of convenience unimagined in prior generations. But before you go online, there are steps you can take to help protect your credit and ensure the safety of your personal information.
- Create strong passwords.
The strongest passwords are long and contain a combination of mixed-case letters, numbers and special characters. The more complex the password, the harder it is to crack.
Thieves who breach websites attempt to use stolen credentials on other sites, hoping to gain access to bank and email accounts. Without unique passwords, your accounts may be at risk.
- Secure your email account.
After selecting ‘forgot password’ on any website requiring a login, a reset link is typically sent to the user’s email address. Therefore, thieves who can successfully hack your email can then reset your password to any password-protected account, such as your bank account.
Secure email providers offer two-factor authentication, which requires a PIN or other verification in addition to your password as part of your login. This extra step prevents crooks from gaining access to those valuable ‘forgot password’ links and changing your password. If your email provider doesn’t offer two-factor authentication, consider switching to one that does.
- Set alerts and check your account activity.
Setting up transaction alerts on both your checking and credit card accounts is an excellent way to catch unauthorized purchases. The transaction alert in Sandy Spring Bank’s online banking enables you to set an alert for transactions over any dollar amount you choose. Checking your account regularly will also help you catch unauthorized activity.
- Avoid public Wi-Fi.
When watching your cell phone’s data usage, it’s tempting to jump on free public Wi-Fi. But beware: A savvy user with some tech knowledge can jump on that same network and intercept what you send and receive. Sitting at your local coffee shop and browsing the web is one thing, but you should avoid entering card data or logging into any sites when using public Wi-Fi.
- Remember: If the offer is too good to be true, it probably is.
Did you find just the right item at an incredible price? Make sure you’re on a reputable seller/store site before checking out. If you’re shopping on eBay, read all of the fine print and the description carefully to ensure you’re buying the item and not just an empty box. Rogue sites exist simply to collect your card information.
We hope these tips help you create a strong layer of protection between the internet and your personal information. If you have questions or need assistance setting up Sandy Spring Bank account alerts, please send us a secure message or call us at 800.399.5919 and press 2 for our Client Service Center.