TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The University of Arizona Police Department has released some tips to help shoppers keep their identities safe when online shopping.
"According to the National Domestic Preparedness Coalition, fraudsters often use the hot items of the holiday season to lure bargain shoppers into providing credit card and other personal information," a UAPD press release stated.
UAPD urges consumers to beware of bargain advertisements sent through unsolicited emails.
As a result, they released the following safety tips:
- Log on directly to the official website for the business identified in the email, instead of a link from an unsolicited email. This includes forwarded messages from someone on your contact list.
- If the email appears to be from your bank, credit card issuer, or other company you deal with frequently, your statements or official correspondence from the business will provide the proper contact information.
- Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software and keep up with the security updates to prevent viruses and malicious programs from infecting your computer.
- If you suspect your computer has a virus, have it serviced immediately from a trusted source.
- Make purchases using websites with secure connections. Look for websites that use Secure Socket Layer (SSL) security which protects your personal information. Check the browser’s status bar for an unbroken “padlock” icon that indicates the sites is using SSL.
- Use your credit card instead of debit card when making a purchase. Credit cards offer added protection from fraudulent transactions.
- Avoid using websites asking for an “electronic check." This will require you provide your bank routing number and your entire checking account number.
- Never use your Social Security Number to make online purchases. A legitimate retailer or website will never ask for your Social Security Number.
- Use passwords that are difficult to decipher. A strong password should be 8 to 14 characters in length, with alphanumeric and special characters. Your login name and password should never be the same.
- For more information on how to safely shop online, please visit the Internet Crime Complaint Center website at: http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx. You may also find valuable information by visiting the FBI.gov E-scams and Warnings webpage at: http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety