Posted by: snukoantitheft | December 13, 2010

Top-Ten Tips to Protect Your Online Identity During This Holiday Shopping Season

In 2009, online holiday shopping generated nearly $27 billion. Americans spent close to $50 million shopping online on Thanksgiving Day. Experts opine that this season’s holiday retail amount could top $32 billion. Further, the National Retail Federation strategically coined the phrase “Cyber Monday” to encourage shoppers to make holiday purchases the Monday following Thanksgiving. Americans spent close to $900 million on Cyber Monday 2009. With the increasing benefits associated with online shopping, to include free shipping and wider selection, savvy shoppers should always be sure to protect their online identity to shield themselves from the devastating effects of identity theft. The following guidelines should be followed by all online shoppers during this holiday shopping season:

– Brevity is the Soul of Wit: Perhaps one of the wisest sentiments as it relates to online shopping: be brief! Only fill in required fields (usually marked with an asterisk). Also, be wary of any options at the end of an online form allowing users’ information to be shared with other online retailers.

– Lock-Out: Always ensure the small lock symbol is displayed in the URL field of any online form requesting private information.

– Data Protection: Many security suites offer the option to alert the user before any sensitive and private data is released to a website or in an email. If you choose to engage this option, you will be fully prepared to protect against the revelation of your precious data.

– Unique Credit Card Numbers: If you’re worried about your credit card information being compromised during this holiday season, many credit card companies offer one-time credit card numbers for online transactions.

– Use Direct Websites: If you are using a search engine (i.e.- ‘Google’ or ‘Bing’) to search for a particular toy or gift idea, always note the vendor associated with the search results and, in a separate tab or window, enter the web address for the particular vendor. Occasionally, scammers will clothe their websites as the ‘official’ site to purchase various items but in actuality the sites are corralling users’ identity information.

Adherence to the above guidelines will help online shoppers protect their identity this holiday season. Online vendors often offer unbeatable deals, so never be afraid to shop online. Just realize and protect against the host of unique identity theft problems associated with internet-based holiday gift-giving.