Shopping online? Read this before you click

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Shopping online? Make sure your information is secure. (Photo: Getty)
An alarming report from the Better Business Bureau shows there has been a spike in online fraud since the pandemic began. Online shopping can put you at risk.
"Online purchase scams ranked among the top three riskiest scams for the third straight year," Melissa Lanning Trumpower, executive director of the Better Business Bureau's Institute for Marketplace Trust, told Yahoo Life. "As COVID hit, it became very clear that this got even riskier as people increased their online presence." Each year, her team produces a report that identifies the riskiest scams for consumers. Their 2021 report shows that online purchases remain one of the biggest culprits.
“If you create accounts online, use a different password for each account. If your password is compromised on one account, that way the attacker can't break into all of your other accounts," Lorrie Cranor, director of the CyLab Security and Privacy Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, tells Yahoo Life. Keep track of these different passwords with a program like LastPass Premium.
Try LastPass Premium risk-free* for 30 days
Cranor says some of the best ways to protect yourself and your personal information are to stick with websites and providers you're familiar with, do your research on ones you've never heard of, and Be wise in setting up your accounts. “Completely random passwords are the most secure, but they tend to be harder to remember. Write them down somewhere safe or use a password manager program.”
How to protect yourself online with LastPass Premium
One way to generate completely random passwords for your online accounts is with LastPass Premium. This top notch password manager actually creates strong and unique passwords for every online account you use. Once the passwords are created, the software simplifies your online shopping by automatically filling in those long and complicated passwords for you.
LastPass Premium also stores your payment information and shipping details in its vault and autofills those as well. This adds another layer of security as providers are not given access to your credit card information. And you get the bonus that your online shopping will be easier.
For added security, try LastPass Premium for your online purchase. (Photo: Getty)
Speaking of credit cards, according to Trumpower, the 2020 BBB study found that some payment methods are more secure than others. "Make sure you're using a credit card or PayPal when entering a payment. Those are the two payment methods that haven't lost as much money," she says. "When people used untraceable payment methods, they were more likely to not get their money back or to lose money."
The FTC adds that credit card companies also allow you to dispute unauthorized charges or temporarily hold payments if you suspect you've been the victim of fraud.
If you think you're safe just browsing the internet for gift ideas, think again. Scammers scour your searches to find out what products online shoppers are looking for.
"If you click on things, scammers have access to these tools even if you're not making a purchase, so they really get a good sense of what you're looking for," Trumpower says. “They are always looking for the most popular products to bring to consumers at the best price and as we know price is the key factor, to be a victim of a scam sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If nobody else has this product and it's a great price, just be very careful and tread carefully."
Try LastPass Premium risk-free* for 30 days
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