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Online Safety Tips

How to be safe while banking & shopping online.

1. Look for the padlock symbol
Don’t check out at a website unless you see a padlock symbol on the browser bar of whatever device you are using.  This symbol means that the page has extra security to prevent others from viewing your information.
Another way to tell a website is secure is that it starts with “https” instead of just “http.” The “s” means the site is secure.

2. Be cautions around public Wi-Fi
If you need to check your online banking account while you are away from home, avoid public Wi-Fi networks. Many retailers provide free Wi-Fi as a convenience to customers, but you can’t be sure your data is protected.
Instead, consider using a virtual private network, a service that lets you encrypt the information you send over the internet.  You can also send data over your personal cellular provider’s network, which bypasses Wi-Fi.

3. Use a credit card instead of a debit card
Credit cards offer better consumer protections than debit cards. If someone steals your credit card information and uses it to make unauthorized purchases, you’ll be liable for $50 at most, depending on how quickly you report the loss. If your debit card information is stolen, you could lose all the money linked to your checking account. Debit card purchases are automatically withdrawn from your bank account.

4. Change passwords regularly
Protect yourself by changing the passwords of your online accounts every three months or so.  A hacker could steal your user name, password or other sensitive information from a retailer’s database. That way, if hackers do breach a retailer’s software, there’s a good chance they’ll have access only to an old password.

5. Update anti-virus software
If you shop from a home computer, keep your security software updated. Anti-virus software companies frequently release security updates to address newly discovered security loopholes.
Follow these tips and you can take advantage of the convenience of online shopping while also protecting yourself from online fraud.