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Shop Safely Online on 10/31/2014

The holidays are fast approaching, and many of us will be shopping online. Credit card fraud and online scams spike over the holiday season; here are some steps you can take to help keep your personal information and finances secure.

1. Run anti-virus software on your computer, and install updates when prompted. This keeps your computer safe in general and can help prevent viruses that secretly gather credit card details while you shop.

2. Only use a phone or tablet for shopping if you’ve protected it carefully. Set up password protection for your lock screen, and never store credit card information.

3. Don’t shop on public wireless networks, and always use a secure connection. Anyone can see information that you send over a public network. Use a secured network that requires a password.

4. Be alert when clicking links in advertising emails. Scammers can create emails that look like they are from reputable retailers. Be sure you know where the link you click is going, or just visit the website directly to search for your item or special offer.

5. Look for URLs that start with https instead of http. The https address indicates that your information is being submitted securely. Never give credit card details on a site without https encryption. Many browsers will display a lock icon to indicate a secure site.

6. Be careful about what information you supply during your online purchase. Required information should only include name, shipping and billing addresses, payment info, and contact details, not your birthday or social security number.

7. Clear your browsing data after you make a purchase.

8. Use your credit card, not your debit card, when shopping online. Using your credit card allows you to dispute purchases, and the money won’t already be gone from your account as with a debit card.

9. Keep a close eye on CU@home Online. Often the first sign you’ll have that your information has been compromised is an odd charge on your accounts. Call SLFCU immediately to start action on the fraud.

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