Learn Tips and Tricks to Help Protect Yourself While Shopping Online

Smiling elderly lady and senior man shopping online, using digital tablet. Mature woman holding credit card in hand.

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month. And, as we approach the end of the month, the Allstate Good Hands Advice team wanted to ensure that you and your loved ones are equipped with tools to help keep you safe and protected as you navigate the online world. If you’re in the beginning stages of planning your holiday shopping, following these simple tips may help to protect you.

  1. Before you start your online shopping, install software programs to protect your computer and make sure they’re kept up to date. You should have an anti-virus protection (which typically includes anti-spyware and anti-spam programs) and a firewall enabled on your router installed.
  2. Do your online shopping on sites you know are reputable and secure.
  3. Always check the URL of the website. Fraudsters sometimes change a letter or use domain names that end in .net or .org, which are rarely used by online retailers. Another important signal that indicates a website is secure is the letter s in https://, but this isn’t always a guaranteed indicator of safety.
  4. Pay using your credit card or PayPal. Credit cards and PayPal offer consumers certain protection if things go wrong with a purchase. Be suspicious if a website asks for a bank transfer because those are unlikely to be refunded if the transaction is fraudulent.
  5. Avoid clicking on questionable links in emails. Phishing emails are often disguised as legitimate requests from trusted companies and banks. If you receive an email you’re unsure about, reach out to the company to see if they sent it to you.
  6. Avoid shopping on public wi-fi. While it may be convenient, these hotspots are very easy to attack.
  7. Consider purchasing identity theft insurance to protect yourself in case of an incident.
  8. Whether you’re shopping at the mall or online, remember to stay alert and protect your information.

Do you have any additional tips to add to the list? For more tips and tricks visit www.getcybersafe.gc.ca/en/cyber-security-awareness-month.

This information has been provided for your convenience only and should not be construed as providing legal or insurance advice.