2. Shield your financial data.
“Don’t let your browser or an e-commerce site save your credit card information,” advises cybersecurity expert Corey Nachreiner, the chief security officer of WatchGuard Technologies. “Sure, it’s a pain to re-enter your payment details at every purchase, but that extra work protects your card if that site—or your computer—is ever breached.” Nachreiner also recommends using a single credit card for all of your online purchases to make it easier to monitor for unauthorized charges. Alternatively, many consumer technology experts—Nachreiner included—urge online shoppers to use digital wallets such as PayPal, Apple Pay, or Google Pay. These payment services mask your financial data, so you won’t have to share your personal information with every site you patronize.
Smart Tip: Whether you’re shopping or just surfing online, always use basic internet safety guidelines, including securing your passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, updating software often, and engaging with the privacy settings on your social media channels. Here are more ways to protect your online privacy.
3. Be wary of public Wi-Fi.
Avoid public Wi-Fi when spending money or entering personal information online. Cybercrooks can easily intercept your transactions to snag your credit card number, bank account password, and other sensitive information. If you must use public Wi-Fi—at an airport, hotel, library, or café—encrypt your data by using a virtual private network (VPN). (The set-up process is similar to other apps, but note that most VPN services charge a monthly or annual fee.)