Most Pennsylvanians don’t think twice about shopping online. You may even use your phone to make impulse purchases on your lunch break. However, do you ever stop and think about whether or not your personal information is safe when you leave payment details on the internet? Unfortunately, identity theft is a huge threat in Pennsylvania, and identity thieves are getting more tech-savvy every day. Therefore, it’s important for online shoppers to take every possible measure to protect their identities, financial well-being, and credit health.
How Pennsylvania Consumers Can Identify Secure Sites while Shopping Online
The easiest way to fight identity theft while shopping online is to only make purchases on secure sites. Unsecure websites transmit consumer data in “plain text,” meaning that anyone able to access the data can read it. Retail sites foolish enough to not take security measures make it easy for even amateur hackers to commit identity fraud.
On the other hand, retailers that sell goods and services through secure sites make it harder for identity thieves to steal consumer information. Secure websites use a technology called Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to encrypt data before it is transmitted and bounced from server to server.
Companies with secure websites normally advertise this status, but you don’t have to take their word for it. Instead, there are ways for Pennsylvanians to verify that sites are secure before trusting them with payment data and personal information.
First, check the URL (the website address located in the bar at the top of your screen). Secure site URLs start with “https” instead of “http.” Next, look for the “lock” icon. It might be next to the URL or in the lower, right-hand corner of the browser window. Sometimes, disreputable websites try to fool consumers with imitation locks, so it’s important to test every lock icon for functionality. Click or double-click the lock icon, and security details for the site should pop up. However, if nothing happens, or if the information that appears looks suspicious in any way, don’t trust the website with your personal data.
Identity Theft Recovery Tips for Pennsylvanians Victimized while Shopping Online
No matter how careful you are, sometimes hackers get the upper hand. Unfortunately, large data breaches allow identity thieves access to huge chunks of consumer data. If you do get your ID stolen through this kind of event or in any other way, it’s important to know what to do.
As an identity theft victim, you must act quickly. After contacting your local, Pennsylvania authorities and filing a police report, call Credit Repair Lawyers of America. We will provide you with an identity theft attorney who will help you through the recovery and credit repair process for free.
Finally, if you do a lot of online shopping in Pennsylvania, it’s a good idea to check your credit reports regularly for signs of identity theft. Just go to www.annualcreditreport.com and request free copies of your credit reports from TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), you may do this every 12 months.
Once you have your credit reports, look for hard inquiries that you didn’t authorize, as well as unauthorized charges and fraudulent accounts. You should also keep an eye out for mistakes and errors made by creditors or the credit reporting agencies. These inaccuracies may not indicate identity theft, but they can harm your credit score.
The Free and Legal way to Get Better Credit
Don’t let identity theft damage or errors on your credit reports bring your credit score down. At Credit Repair Lawyers of America, we’ve been cleaning up credit reports for consumers since 2008 for free. How do we do it? The law allows us to collect our fees and costs from the defendants in any successful action. This is why our clients pay nothing for the work we do.
Let’s start the conversation about what we can do for your credit. Set up your free consultation today by calling Attorney Gary Nitzkin at (856) 912-3511 or sending him a message through our contact page.