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Tips to stay safe while shopping online

For many, shopping for gifts online is part of the holiday season. Online shopping can be convenient, but could result in identity theft scams – when this occurs, someone’s personal information is stolen for financial gain. These scams can be costly – in 2016, identity theft caused Canadians over $40 million in losses. Here are some ways to reduce the chance of getting caught in an identity theft scam and the benefits of extra insurance coverage.

Purchase on secure networks

For online purchases, it’s best to use home or secured networks which are password protected. Open networks, such as suing public WiFi, could be more prone to hacking – this is where credit card information could be stolen.

Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software

Anti-spyware and ant-virus software are a way to add protection to a secure network. Before shopping online, check to ensure this software is up-to-date on mobile devices or computers. Anti-spyware and anti-virus software could also help in preventing a virus from impacting a computer or mobile device.

Shop on secure websites

While online shopping can be a quick way to purchase gifts, it’s important to take time to check the website. It’s best to shop on secured website – this means information in transactions is encrypted, which is a way to reduce the chance of getting information stolen (i.e. credit card numbers). Websites which are secure begin with “https” in the address and typically, have a closed lock icon which can be viewed in the website address.

Avoid “phishers”

Customers could receive a confirmation email after an online purchase. If a customer is asked to give their personal information (i.e. banking details), it’s likely a scam. If this occurs, it’s important to not provide the personal information and to contact the company about the message. Also, if there’s a request to submit the personal information via a link, it shouldn’t be clicked. The link could lead to a site to provide banking details or result in a virus download.

Why consider identity theft insurance coverage?

When someone’s identity is stolen, it could be costly to replace. It could result in legal fees or lost income from having to take time off work. Although coverage will be policy dependent, identity theft insurance could help with costs to restore a stolen identity. This type of coverage is often added to a home insurance policy. A MCT Insurance broker can provide more information and guidance on the limitations of the coverage and available options.

Other insurance tips for the holidays

In addition to how to safely shop online, we also have tips on protecting purchases while shopping in the mall. Have happy and safe holiday!