Keep Your Personal Information Safe Online
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(NU) - More and more shoppers now choose to avoid brick and mortar stores in favor of their virtual counterparts.

The Internet makes shopping a breeze for many time-strapped Americans. Last year, more than 24 million consumers clicked their way to buying bliss, spend-ing more than $8 billion. This year, that number is expected to jump even higher.

Unfortunately along with convenience, online shopping brings hackers, spam and virus activity.

Most people do not have the adequate protection to guard their personal information online. As a result, they leave themselves wide open to identity theft and other crimes.

So, what can you do to make sure you, your family and your personal identity are protected from computer threats?

Bryson Gordon of McAfee Security offers the following simple protection tips for shopping online:

  • Protect your identity and can the spam.

Many consumers experience a tsunami of spam every day. Some consider spam just a nuisance, but others know it can be a venue through which thieves steal the identity of unsuspecting consumers. On average, a victim of identity theft spends 175 hours restoring his or her reputation, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. Online shoppers can minimize their vulnerability as well as the amount of spam they receive by immediately deleting unwant-ed e-mails and installing anti-spam software to fend off un-wanted inbox pests.

  • With security, layers are key.

Antivirus software is not all-encompassing when it comes to total security. Consumers still need to install a personal firewall, update their patches regularly and install anti-spam protection to avoid these threats. Some security companies, like McAfee Security, offer all-in-one protection with products like the McAfee Internet Security Suite 6.0, which includes antivirus, personal firewall, anti-spam, family-friendly parental controls and privacy services.

  • Check the fine print twice.

When downloading a new program or accepting a Web siteís privacy policy, be sure to read the information carefully and ìopt outî of receiving additional information if you donít want it.

  • Look out for scams.

Be wary of e-mails that come from unknown senders and be sure to keep track of whom you give your personal information to while shopping online.

Itís vital to protect yourself when surfing or shopping online. Armed with these simple tips, shoppers can avoid the barrage of spam and other online threats.

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