Protect your personal information when shopping online.
Secure Shopping Starts with You
- Don't use debit online. Debit cards do not have the same consumer protections as credit cards, which are protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act and may limit your liability if your information is used improperly.
- Keep your devices and software up-to-date, especially your web browser.
- Use endpoint protection, antivirus/anti-malware, and firewalls. See Secure Your Devices, including Secure Your Internet of Things Devices.
- Do not use public computers or guest wireless for your online shopping. See Use a Secure Internet Connection for details on secure connections.
- Use strong passwords. Do not use your UMICH password for non-university websites. Use a unique password for every unique site. Tips in Choosing and Changing a Secure UMICH Password can be used to help you come up with strong passwords for any site.
Know Who You're Dealing With
- Know your online shopping merchants. Shop with merchants you know and trust. If you question a merchant, check with the Better Business Bureau or the Federal Trade Commission.
- Look for "https" in the URL/web address when making an online purchase. HTTPS indicates communication with the webpage is encrypted. Be aware that "https" is not a guarantee that the site is legitimate.
- Review privacy policies. Look for what information is collected about you, how it will be stored, and if it will be shared with others.
Avoid Traps and Scams
- Be suspicious of email, links, and attachments, even from trusted companies. Criminals sometimes try to impersonate known businesses. Before you click a link in email, hover over and look at the URL to see if it's sending you to that business or a third-party/unknown site. If you are unsure of an email link, navigate to the merchant website yourself and skip the links in the message.
- Beware of popups. Before clicking on a popup offer, consider if it seems too good to be true, or if the information it asks for is really worth giving away.
- Do not auto-save your personal information. This information can be stolen from your browser, turning the convenience of auto-fill into the nightmare of identity theft.
- Use common sense to avoid scams. Never give your financial or personal information in email or text.
Information about many current scams can be found at Internet Crime Complaint Center.
Share online shopping tips with colleagues and friends with our Shop Online Safely PDF poster.