Iowa State University

ITInformation Technology

Safety when Shopping (Online)

This blog entry expired December 23, 2016. It may contain out-of-date information.

The ability to shop for our favorite items, any time of day, in the comfort of our own homes, is a luxury many of us enjoy. Online shopping has provided a great convenience for people, however, online shopping, like most great things, has its short-comings. Anytime someone provides personal information online they are creating some sort of risk. Due to its increased popularity, cyber criminals have used online shopping as an easy target to manipulate consumers. Every system is vulnerable to attacks, although some more than others, it is important to be aware and alert when it comes to online shopping.

Here are some things you as the consumer can do to keep your information safe, and to reduce your risk of contracting a harmful virus:

  • Continually back up your computer or device
  • Operate through a current or updated browser
  • Enable firewalls and antivirus software
  • Use credit rather than debit when making purchases on the web
  • Make purchases through password protected accounts
  • When browsing different websites, check for signs of a secure or verified site
  • Avoid opening messages or clicking links from unknown sites that look too good to be true
  • Limit the amount of financial information you provide, and avoid sites that ask for unnecessary information
  • Never access financial information or make purchases on a public computer or when using a public network

Although nothing is absolute, taking extra precautions and always being conscious of your actions will increase your security and decrease your risk, allowing you to continue enjoying the ease of online shopping.