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Shopping Safely Online

Submitted by the HealthNet Federal Credit Union

You may have noticed that people aren’t shopping in person as much these days, while online shopping has exploded in popularity. This is great and convenient for those unwilling to leave their homes. However, online shopping does come with some perils. There’s the chance for computer viruses, hacking and unreliable products. How are you supposed to protect yourself while shopping online?

One thing you can do is purchase from stores you know. Think of the places you normally shop. Chances are, they will either deliver or have curbside pickup. A store you trust in person is generally a store you can trust online.

Online stores may require their customers to create an account to make purchases. That’s fine, but there are a couple of things you should do. First, make sure you create a unique password that is difficult to replicate. This may sound obvious, but don’t take it for granted.

Next, look at the website URL and make sure it says HTTPS. This means there’s a secure socket layer, which helps protect you when using a credit card online. Keep in mind this doesn’t guarantee someone can’t steal your information.

Another thing you can do is not share more information than is required. Often, some fields on a form are required, and others are optional. Skip the optional ones. The less information there is floating around in a store’s database, the better. They aren’t impenetrable to cyber attacks.

And of course, check your bank statements and online/mobile banking regularly for unusual charges. Also, if your credit union or bank offers card controls, make sure you’re using them. If you find a suspicious charge, call your credit card company and ask them to stop your card before additional charges can be made.

For more financial tips, visit your local credit union. HealthNet Federal Credit Union has proudly served Baptist Memorial Health Care employees and the health care community throughout the Mid-South for more than 60 years.

For information about the credit union, please call 901-226-1111 or visit www.healthnetfcu.org.