Shopping online is a great way to find deals. But, if you're not careful, you could be putting your personal information at risk of being stolen by identity thieves.
There are several steps you can take to protect yourself while shopping – or doing anything – online. Follow these tips to protect your personal information while buying gifts this year.
1. Never shop online from a public Wi-Fi connection. Hackers can tap into Wi-Fi connections at hotspots, such as coffee shops, airports and hotels, to capture your personal information. If you must use public Wi-Fi, you can download for free the AnchorFree HotSpot Shield to hide your IP address while you're online and protect your computer from snoopers. Also, never use a public computer to shop or check accounts online.
2. Don't use your smartphone to shop. Hackers can use the same tactics for tapping into your smartphone as they use for your laptop or PC.
3. Don't use your debit card for online shopping. If hackers steal your debit-card information and raid your bank account, you must report any misuse within two days to get the same $50 limited liability as you would with a credit card. Miss that deadline but report your loss within 60 days and you could be liable for up to $500. After 60 days, your liability is unlimited.