Online shopping not only lets you find unique products that may not be available in stores near you, but it is also extremely convenient. You can do all your holiday shopping without leaving your house and have everything delivered directly to your doorstep. However, entering your credit card information along with your name and address on websites can pose a security risk. With the amount of data breaches that happen, it is even risky for those who follow all the recommended online safety tips (i.e., verify the website is secure before entering personal information, use different passwords, have updated virus protection, etc.). How can you keep your information safe and still take advantage of the convenience of online shopping? One way is to use virtual card numbers. Virtual card numbers are linked to your credit card but can only be used at that site. They allow you to shop online without exposing your actual credit card number. If you would like to use a virtual number, contact your bank or credit card company to see if they offer them. They are typically offered through a browser extension that you download. It does an add an extra step to your online shopping (you have to login to your card account to obtain a virtual card number) but the additional security is worth the completing an extra step.
Additionally, if you are an avid online shopper be sure to use these tools to save money on your purchases:
- Paribus– is an online tool that reviews your online receipts and let’s you know if you the price dropped after you purchased an item. It then helps you get a refund for the price difference. It does require access to your email account. If you are uncomfortable giving an app access to your personal email account, you can set up an email account that you use exclusively for online purchases.
- Wikibuy and Honey are browser extensions that maintain lists of coupon codes and will try them on your virtual cart before you purchase items to see if any of the codes will save you money.