Tips for a Safe, Secure Online Shopping Experience
With the holidays quickly approaching, the Independent Community
Bankers of America ® (ICBA) and Citizens Security Bank and Trust
offer consumers the following tips to consider if they are planning
to make any of their holiday purchases online.
"Even though the holiday season can be quite busy, it's never
too busy to ensure that your personal information is safe when
shopping online," said Bill Loving, ICBA chairman and president and
CEO of Pendleton Community Bank, Franklin, W.Va.
The total financial loss attributed to identity theft in 2013 is
estimated to be $21 billion, according to the
Department of Justice and Javelin Strategy and Research.
Consumers need to be on high alert this holiday season, and any
time they choose to make purchases online, to avoid falling victim
to identity theft and to protect their sensitive financial
With that in mind, ICBA and Citizens Security Bank offer the
- Make sure your computer and browser are secure. Set your
firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware software to automatically
update and scan your computer.
- Don't create passwords that include easily accessible personal
information, such as mother's maiden name or date of birth.
Instead, use something unique that only you know.
- Don't give personal information over the phone, through the
mail or on the Internet unless you know whom you're dealing with
and preferably only if you've initiated the contact. Never give out
Social Security or driver's license numbers. If you must share
personal information, confirm that you are dealing with a
- If you receive an email asking for personal information, do not
hit the reply button or click on any link in the email. Instead, go
directly to the sender's site by typing in its website
- Look for secure sites with an "s" in the URL (https://) and a
closed-padlock icon on the Web page when making purchases. These
websites are secure.
- Always double-check the URL to be sure you are shopping with
the company you intended to shop with. A simple typo can help