USF Sarasota-Manatee Director of Computer Information Services offers tips for safe online shopping this holiday season

According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, about 28 people in the United States become victims of identity theft every 60 seconds.  Rick Rampersad, Director of Computer Information Services at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee has compiled a list of ten tips for safe and secure online shopping.  “Retailers anticipate that over $500B will be spent online via traditional online venues as well as emerging mobile platforms,” he said.  “There are some things you can do to minimize your risk of becoming a victim of identity theft or stolen credit cards while shopping this season.”

  1. Never open up unsolicited emails and ignore emails requesting any personal information.
  2. Guard your Social Security number and other personal information, reputable sites do not ask for such information.
  3. Look for the https: heading on websites that manage secure data, this means that the site is encrypted.
  4. Beware of fraudulent apps for mobile devices. The apps should be authored by the vendor themselves. For instance, if you do online banking, the author of the app should be your bank.
  5. Make sure all of your mobile devices are password protected.
  6. Always log off of the site upon completion of your transaction, then close it.
  7. Do not send personal information like credit card numbers or SSN via text.
  8. Ensure that the virus and anti-spyware applications on your machine are up to date.
  9. Do not use public machines to shop online.
  10. Be very cautious when using your checking account as a form of online payment.