Shopping online is incredibly convenient. You can find great deals, shop at times that are suitable for your schedule, and you don’t have to deal with crowds. However, along with that convenience comes the possibility of data theft and fraud. Making an online credit card payment is not without its risks, so here are 5 simple practices to help you keep your sensitive information private.

Choose Strong Passwords

It seems obvious, but not everyone chooses strong passwords to protect their accounts. If you sign up for an account on an ecommerce site, you need to choose a unique password. Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts. Use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols to give your accounts extra protection.

Keep it Private

When you make an online credit card payment, don’t do it in public. This means two things. First, don’t use a public computer to shop online. Even if you log out of a public computer after using it, you can still put your private information at risk of theft. Many hackers install keylogger viruses on public computers, giving them access to your usernames, passwords, and credit card information.

Second, don’t use public WiFi to shop. While it may seem safe to make purchases on your local coffee shop’s network, a good hacker can actually get your information while sharing the same network. If you do plan to shop online in public, make sure you’re using a VPN or your smart device’s dedicated network connection.

Do Not Give Your Social Security Number

This one is simple and straightforward, but some people still fall victim to this trap. You never need to give your social security number to make an online credit card payment. If a website asks you for your social number, leave it, clear your browser history and cookie cache, and never visit that site again.

Use Anti-Virus Software

This is another often overlooked safety precaution. You should install a trusted anti-virus software program on your computer. This keeps worms and trojan horses off your computer, making it harder for hackers to access your sensitive financial information. It’s easy and simple to install the software and it will help keep your credit card info safe and secure.

Use Good Judgement

If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Stick to reputable websites like Amazon when making online purchases. If you are shopping on a site that you don’t know, look for a seal of approval from a trusted organization like McAfee or VeriSign. Furthermore, check the website address: if it begins with HTTPS (as opposed to HTTP), that is typically a sign that it’s a secure site you can trust. These tips will help you determine whether the site is trustworthy or not. Don’t make an online credit card payment on a site you’re unsure of; it’s not worth the small savings to risk your financial information.

Stay Protected

Another great way to keep your credit card information safe is to use a digital wallet to make your purchases. A digital wallet keeps your information safe by encrypting it before passing it to a website. Allied Wallet’s eWallet lets you make payments on websites without ever having to enter your personal information. It’s safe and free to use. Click here to learn more about making safe and secure online payments.