Online shopping has experienced a boom over the last few months as people choose online sellers for more and more everyday items. With the holidays just around the corner, things are unlikely to change anytime soon. While online shopping allows us to choose from a wider variety of products, the practice does come with some risks: online shoppers can face identity theft, credit card theft, fraud, and other vulnerabilities when they head to the checkout screen. Here are a handful of tips from the computer support experts at Howard Tech Advisors to help our friends and neighbors stay safe when shopping online.
Be Mindful When You Click
It’s always important to know what you are clicking on, but being aware of the URLs you visit and the buttons you click is absolutely essential when shopping online or checking emails from an online store. As the holiday season approaches, you can expect to get numerous emails from online retailers inviting you to purchase certain items on-sale or via promotion. Of course these can be fake emails, sent as part of a phishing campaign and made to look legitimate. A simple tip is to avoid clicking on any links in an unsolicited email, and simply going to that retailers website directly. This takes the risk of falling for a fake email to zero.
Major online retailers take great care to avoid displaying links or ads that can harm your computer, but you should avoid clicking any links, buttons, or advertisements if you are not 100% confident about it. One way to see where a link actually goes is to hover your mouse over the link in question. The URL will appear in the bottom left corner of your screen, allowing you to confirm that the site you’ll visit is the one you want before you click.
Work With Your Computer Support Team To Keep Antivirus Programs, Browsers, And Other Software Current
One of the best ways to protect yourself against things like spyware, ransomware, keyloggers, and other nasties is to ensure that your devices and software are always kept up-to-date. Updates for operating systems and software often include important security tools. Working with a managed services provider like Howard Tech Advisors gives you and your business access to a computer support team that can help you minimize your risk.
If you are trying to protect your home computer, it is easiest to set automatic updates for your operating system and antivirus software. These vendors will automatically push updates as they are released, and you will simply reboot your computer as required.
Follow Password Best Practices And Be Careful With Your Credit Cards
If you do encounter a virus or online shopping scam, following best practices with your passwords and credit cards can help prevent significant damage. Avoid using the same passwords for all of your accounts, change passwords regularly, and consider using a secure password generator. Do not enter your credit card information on a website unless you are sure that it is legitimate and you are accessing it with a secure connection.
The Experts At Howard Tech Advisors Care About Your Security
The team at Howard Tech is committed to providing managed services and customized IT solutions to our clients in Howard County, Baltimore, Columbia, and Ellicott City. We specialize in managed IT services for small and midsize businesses, particularly those near our office in Elkridge, Maryland. To learn more about our business and our work in the community, contact us at (410) 997-2500 or visit our website. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to stay up-to-date on our service offerings and tech tips.