How to stay safe while shopping for back to school supplies online

It’s back-to-school season, and e-commerce sales are expected to be 53% higher than they were during the same period in 2019. With parents and kids eager for a fresh start, the increase in spending means online shoppers are also at risk of virtual threats and scammers waiting to take advantage of unsuspecting online shoppers.

Know how to tell if a site is secure

How to know if he site you're at is secure.

Secure URL indicators on 4 popular browsers.

Some websites are safer than others. Before you make a purchase, look at the web address of the site you’re shopping on. You’ll want to be sure you see a lock symbol before your web address and remember that the URL should have an “s” after the initial “http” to indicate that you’re visiting a secure site. Don’t enter personal information on any site that doesn’t have this visible layer of security.

Use your credit card when possible

In the event that something does go wrong while shopping online, you can feel confident knowing that most credit cards, or secure payment processing services like PayPal, have your back when it comes to fraudulent charges. Credit cards offer an added level of protection without the direct link to your bank account that comes with using your debit card. Check your personal settings – most credit cards offer security features to alert you immediately to anything they might consider “suspicious” activity.

Stick to secured networks

This is likely easier to do this year, when you’re shopping mostly from home, but if you find yourself out and about, be wary of joining unsecured wireless networks. Public networks make you visible to data thieves that are looking for an easy target, so if you must get online from a new unsecured network (a network without a password is one you want to avoid), be sure you leave any online banking or shopping for when you’re on a network you trust.

Update your software

That pop-up you’ve been ignoring might be reminding you that it’s time for an important update that will add an extra level of protection to your computer or mobile device. Stop stalling, and approve the update for an added level of security in all your online activities. Updates are designed to identify vulnerabilities, add a layer of security, and help combat attempts to access your information (among other things).

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