To stay safe while mobile shopping:

Go big. Do your online business with major retailers, or those you already know, like, and trust. The chances of a major online retailer stiffing you, or of their database being compromised, are slimmer than those of an unknown.

Do your homework. If you search for a particular product and wind up at an unfamiliar website, do some research on the retailer before putting down your credit card number. Search for the company’s name and web address to see if there have been complaints.

Don’t give out more personal data than necessary. Many retailers require your name, address, phone number, and credit card information. This is normal. But if you are asked for anything beyond that, like bank account numbers or your Social Security number, run hard and fast.

Vary your passwords. Often, online retailers will ask you to register with their website when you make your first purchase. Never register using the same password you’ve already used for another website. Otherwise, if one website is hacked, your password could be used to infiltrate your other accounts.

Use HTTPS sites. Websites that have a secure checkout process—with “https://” in the web address (as opposed to “http://”)—are safer because they encrypt the transaction against interception by thieves.

Keep mobile security software current. The latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats.

Automate software updates. Many software programs can update automatically to defend against known risks. If this is an available option, be sure to turn it on.

Use a free VPN for Wi-Fi security like Hotspot Shield. Itcreates a virtual private network (VPN) between your laptop or iPhone and our Internet gateway. This impenetrable tunnel prevents snoopers, hackers and ISPs from viewing your web browsing activities, instant messages, downloads, credit card information or anything else you send over the network.

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield VPN. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning AmericaDisclosures

Be Sociable, Share!