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Online shopping is more prevalent than ever, offering convenience and a wider selection of products at your fingertips. However, with the increase in online shopping comes the heightened risk of cybercrime. It’s essential to take proactive measures to protect your personal and financial information while shopping online. By following these simple steps, you can significantly reduce your risk of falling victim to cybercrime and enjoy a safer online shopping experience:

1. Secure mobile devices and computers

Keep the operating system and application software updated/patched on your computers and mobile devices. Also, be sure to check that any installed antivirus/antispyware software is running and receiving automatic updates.

2. Limit your online shopping to merchants you know and trust

If you know the store, shopping in their online store is very safe. If you have issues, you can always visit the brick-and-mortar store. But, if you don’t know the store, be wary. Especially ads for stores that pop up on social media sites. It may be legit, but take precautions. Conduct your own background check by checking with the Better Business Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission, or online sites that review e-stores. If the store isn’t reviewed or doesn’t have good reviews, don’t order from their website.

3. Look for “https” when making an online purchase

The “s” in “https” stands for “secure” and indicates that communication with the webpage is encrypted. If you submit your credit card information through a website, make sure the site is secure. Look for a padlock or key icon in the browser’s status bar and “https” appears in the website’s address bar before making an online purchase. Also, keep your browser software up to date.

4. Password protect your mobile device and computer

It’s one of the most important steps to secure your mobile device and computer. When you create an account with the merchant, be sure to use a strong password. Use at least eight characters, with numbers, special characters, and upper and lowercase letters.    

5. Do not respond to offers that seem too good to be true

An online store whose prices seem too good to be true or that promises too much at too low a price is suspicious. The online store may not have come by these items legally, or you may never receive them, or you may get a bait and switch and end up with something you didn’t order.

6. Avoid scams and fraud

Don’t ever give your financial information or personal information over email or text. If you receive an email requesting donations, contact the organization to verify the request.

7. Do not use public computers or public wireless for your online shopping

Public computers may contain malicious software that steals your credit card information when you shop online. Criminals can also intercept traffic on public wireless networks to steal credit card numbers and other confidential information.

8. Pay by credit card, not debit card

It’s safer to shop online with a credit card rather than a debit card. Credit cards are protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act and may reduce your liability if your information is used improperly.

9. Print your online transactions

Print or save records of your online transactions, including the product description and price, the online receipt, and the emails you send and receive from the seller. Carefully review your credit card statements as soon as you receive them to confirm that all charges are legitimate. Contact your credit card company immediately if you have unauthorized charges on your account.

10. Review privacy policies

Review the privacy policy for the website/merchant you are visiting. Know what information the merchant is collecting about you, how it will be stored, how it will be used, and if it will be shared with others.

Contact WRCU if anything goes wrong during online shopping

If your card information is stolen, you discover a fraudulent purchase, or your order is mysteriously lost and never refunded, we can help. If you paid with a WRCU debit or credit card, call us immediately or log in to online banking to freeze your card or report it as stolen. We’re here to help! Call us at (360) 825-4833 or email us at

© 2020 White River Credit Union