Is your credit card safe when you shop online?

(NC) Online shopping can be great for finding special deals or items you can’t find in store. But it also poses unique security risks that aren’t present when shopping offline. To keep your personal and financial information safe, check out these tips.

  1. Use your own network. Avoid public computers or Wi-Fi hotspots, such as in coffee shops, to access or provide personal information; they put you at risk. If you need to shop while away from home, switch to your data plan when it comes time to enter your credit card info.
  2. Double-check the site. Use a secure and reputable payment service when buying online—look for a URL starting with "https" and a closed padlock symbol. Many fraudsters create sites that look very similar to legitimate ones, with only one or two letters off, so be sure you’re on the verified webpage.
  3. Use a designated card. It’s a smart idea to save a separate credit card with a low credit limit for online shopping. This way, if your information is compromised, and you need to cancel your card, it won’t affect any preauthorized payments.
  4. Watch out for phishing attacks. Be wary of online promotions you receive via email, text or social media. They could be fake. Delete these messages as they can carry viruses and attempt to steal your data and money. If you’re interested in the promotion, type the website into your browser yourself instead of clicking on any hyperlinks.
  5. Protect your devices. Update your antivirus software on all devices. Create strong and unique passwords for each of your online accounts. Password-protect your devices and home Wi-Fi network.