Shopping online has many perks, including not having to wait in line and great deals, but is has one major downside: identity theft. Many Californians choose to shop online these days. Some estimates say that 75% of Internet users are online shoppers, with many of them shopping on their iPads and tablets. If you are one the the thousands of Los Angelenos using the world wide web to find steals and deals, make so you are online shopping wisely.
When you buy something online, you are required to enter in financial information. This information can easily be compromised or stolen by identity thieves and hackers if you are not careful, and sometimes even when you are careful. If you or a loved one has been a victim of online identity theft, know that California law and a team of experienced identity theft lawyers in Los Angeles are on your side. Identity theft can be considered fraud — and Los Angeles fraud victims have rights, including financial compensation.
Before you do any online shopping, here are a few tips to consider to avoid identity theft online:
1. Anti-virus protection. Make sure your computer has up-to-date and functioning anti-virus protection software installed. Antivirus software is software used to prevent, detect and remove malware, such as: computer viruses, adware, backdoors, spyware, trojan horses and worms. Hackers and online identity thieves frequently steal your identity and financial information through viruses, etc… and antivirus software can help prevent this from happening.
2. Mind your finances. Make sure you are regularly checking your online and paper credit card and bank statements. If you see a charge for a purchase you did not make, it is possible your online safety and been compromised. Immediately contact your bank. If they are unwilling to help you, reach out to a skilled identity theft lawyer in Los Angeles.
3. Use strong and unique passwords. While your birthdate might be easy to remember, it is also easy for an online hacker to figure out. Take the time to create a unique password for each website that requires you to create an online account prior to making a purchase. Smart password suggestions include using a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols, and uppercase and lowercase characters. Worried you won’t remember each password? Write them down on paper and leave it in a safe place.
4. Only use secure Wi-Fi networks. Free Wi-Fi spots are great, but they aren’t secure and often have more people trying to hack into them to steal others identities. Not only could that business be tracking your online moves (for advertising and other purposes), but hackers could be too. Unfortunately, hackers are probably looking to steal critical financial and identity-related information from you. If you want to shop online and need to enter your credit card number, do it on a password protected Wi-Fi network that you trust; such as your home wireless network.
5. Buy from online merchants you trust. Sometimes a good deal is too good to be true. Make sure you are buying from a reputable merchant or site that you trust. Scammers take advantage of online shoppers who use search engines to find deals. When you are directed to a site, take some time to check it out and when you get to the page that asks you to enter credit card info, make sure the page (and your financial info) is secured with an “https” web address.
Of course, despite your best efforts, it’s possible for your computer or online accounts to get hacked. Again, California law is on your side when it comes to identity theft. Some online identity thieves focus on Los Angeles because of the wealth and prestige associated with the city. If your identity is stolen you could face years of financial stress and debt, resulting in poor credit ratings and financial struggle. If you or a loved one has been the victim of identity theft in Los Angeles, contact an aggressive identity theft lawyer who will fight for your legal rights, credit score, and financial freedom.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of fraud, such as identity theft, in Los Angeles contact an experienced Los Angeles fraud lawyer today. You might be able to recover money for your injuries. The law is on your side and so are the experienced identity theft lawyers at The Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, MD, Esq.