Campus News

Shop online safely to reduce ID theft

To ensure the safety of Internet purchases, Bill Blum, an information specialist with the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, offers a few tips.
• Don’t click on website links provided in e-mails. Take the time to type the website address into your Web browser. “This reduces your chances of encountering malicious links,” he said.
• Use unique and strong passwords for each website that requires one. “A good rule of thumb is to create a ‘root’ password, something that is complex and unique and combines letters and numbers,” Blum said. “Then add characters that are unique to the website you are shopping on, like ‘Am’ for Amazon.”
• Make sure the website you are shopping on is a secure website. Secure website addresses begin with https.
• If you use PayPal, log in frequently and check the history of transactions to ensure your account has not been compromised.
“Be very wary of e-mails that appear to come from PayPal and inform you of a problem with your account,” Blum said.
• Be suspicious of e-mails that confirm shipping or direct you to a shopping site. Remember, Web links should be copied and pasted, if used at all, from e-mail messages. “It’s always better to access a vendor through the front door by typing in to their root website address,” he said.