The holiday season is upon us and with it, the search for gifts. On-line shopping and gift delivery will be bigger than ever this year. But with the convenience of shopping from home, there are also risks.
Keep reading for 15 tips to help keep your on-line shopping and package delivery as safe and predictable as possible.
Online shopping safety:
1) Keep your network updated
Before shopping, check to make sure you have the latest security updates installed on your phone, computer, antivirus software and your router. These updates help improve security and fight new attacks. It may seem inconvenient to have to wait for your computer or phone to update and restart, but the protection is worth it.
2) Use unique, strong passwords and two factor authentications on your accounts. Don’t let your computer or device remember your usernames, passwords, or credit card information. To reduce the chance of being hacked you can use a password generator and manager to create and keep track of complicated passwords that are not worth a hacker’s time to crack.
3) Don’t use your debit card!
When online shopping, it’s best to use a credit card or payment service like PayPal instead of a debit card. Because debit cards are linked to your bank account, you are at much higher risk if someone hacks your information. Credit cards offer more protection and less liability if a card number gets stolen. Also, credit cards are much quicker at refunds or cancelling payment than trying to reverse a cash transaction that has been automatically paid out directly through your bank account. This is one time when it pays to put it on plastic.
4) Be smart about shopping apps
Apps make everything more convenient – even stealing your information. So be sure to only download shopping apps from established, reliable sources like the Apple App Store or Android Market; check out the reviews and comments on an app before downloading. And then, don’t just click approve – pay special attention to the permissions that the app asks for. If you see something that doesn’t make sense, like access to your contacts, don’t allow the app access.
5) Check to make sure the site you’re shopping on is safe and secure
Verify that the online store is secure before entering any personal or financial information. Look for “https” at the beginning of a site’s address. If you don’t see the “s” at the end of “http,” then the site is not encrypted, and your data will not be secure. All legitimate shopping sites will have the “s” for your protection.
7) Don’t shop in public
Free hotspots are great when you’re out and about, but hackers like them even more than you do. Because public networks aren’t secured, don’t log in to banking sites or payment sites like PayPal on a public network — and make sure that you are logged out of those sites before connecting to a public network.
8) Put devices on lockdown
An advantage of online shopping is that you can do it from anywhere and use any device. Make sure every device that you shop from has security software in place. Always use a passcode to access your tablet or smartphone and log off your computer or lock the screen when you walk away from it. After accessing a shopping or banking site, be sure to completely log out of the site before exiting, and don’t let your computer or device remember your usernames, passwords, or credit card information.
Package Delivery Security:
1) Track it! If the ordering system allows you to choose the time of delivery, select a time you know you’ll be at home. Always use the alerts option or tracking #s to follow your packages along on their journey so you can arrange to get your packages off the porch as soon as possible. If things appear slow or stopped, get in contact with the delivery service or store for assistance in locating your package.
2) Deliver decisively. If you’re not home much, consider having the package delivered to your office or a friend or neighbor’s house for safekeeping.
3) Hold the post. If your package contains very valuable items, request UPS, FedEx, and or Postal Service to hold packages at their facility for you to pick up later. UPS has created a service called Access Point that enables you to choose an alternate delivery location in your neighborhood.
4) Alert a neighbor. When you are expecting a package and won’t be home, you can ask a neighbor or friend to keep an eye out for it. Also, if you use Nextdoor.com or a similar neighborhood app you can let neighbors know if something has been stolen from your porch so they can keep an eye out and report suspicious behavior.
5) Get a smart doorbell. Swap your current doorbell for a Skybell and enjoy a higher level of safety and security with remote monitoring and cloud recording features. When the delivery person rings the doorbell, you can see when and how packages are delivered. You can also check for any unwanted visitors at your doorstep.
6) Open your Garage Door. With Total Connect 2.0 integrated with the MyQ garage door app, you can monitor and allow deliveries to be placed inside your garage. To learn more about how convenient this can be, click here or call us at 919.387.1800 or fill out the form below.
7) Invest in monitored home security. A home security system can be a great deal. If there are visible security features like cameras or alarms, potential thieves will be more likely to move along to a less protected house rather than risk getting caught by a security system.
The holiday season is a fun and exciting time of year. Following these easy tips for online shopping and package delivery can help ensure the joys and excitement of holiday gift-giving.
Happy Holidays from Secur-Tek, Inc.!
Secur-Tek is locally owned and operated in Apex, NC, offering home and business security, monitoring, automation audio, and central vacuum systems. Our service area includes Apex, Cary, Fuquay-Varina, Chapel Hill, Clayton, Garner, Holly Springs, Durham, Raleigh, Morrisville, and Pittsboro in North Carolina.