As more and more Albertans turn to online shopping for their holiday purchases, Information and Privacy Commissioner Jill Clayton is reminding consumers to be vigilant about protecting personal information from cyber-crooks.
Privacy tips for online shopping
- Research online merchants, looking at privacy and security policies and customer ratings prior to making a purchase.
- Only enter personal information on secure websites. The website address will be preceded by “https” if secure and a closed padlock will appear beside it.
- Reputable merchants usually send an email confirming your order. If you do not receive an email confirmation, follow up with the merchant immediately.
- Use a low limit credit card for online purchases and one that provides you with specific guarantees, such as 100% coverage for any losses due to fraud when shopping online.
- Make sure your computer security is up-to-date to protect against spyware, adware, malware and other Internet attacks.
- Create strong passwords, including numbers, symbols and upper- and lower-case letters, and use a different username and password on each website you shop to limit risk if your personal information is compromised.
- Never pay bills, bank, or shop on a public or shared computer or on devices such as laptops or mobile phones that are on public wireless networks.
- Do not be fooled by extraordinary offers. If a product or service looks too good to be true, it probably is.
- Beware of emails asking for personal information even if they look to be from a reputable source. Fraudsters will often send “phishing” emails to try to steal your personal information or to install malware.
- Do not click on links if you do not know or trust the source.
If you think you have been the victim of online fraud, scams, or identity theft, file a report with local police, your credit card company, or online to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.
The Information and Privacy Commissioner works independently of government to protect the access and privacy rights of all Albertans.