Your online habits can make you susceptible to fraud

Protecting your information online

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Data breaches and online fraud are now common occurrences on the internet and there are things that you're doing online, that may seem innocent, but you could be making yourself more susceptible to fraud.

The first one is for online shoppers - which is basically everyone. Let's say you're on your favorite retailer's website, you have a few items in your cart and now you're ready to check out. Have you noticed retailers give you an option to log in to check out, create an account to checkout, or use the guest checkout option?

Well, which one is the smarter choice? Local financial expert Paul Durso from Durso Capital Management in Ballantyne says shoppers should not create an account.

"Go through the guest check out. Don't create an account," Durso said. "I know it's convenient - but you're storing your data, your address, your credit. That's where you'll be more susceptible with smaller companies."

Another service we all use but are not careful about is public WiFi.

It's easier said than done to just say don't get on public WiFi at all. Durso says if you're on WiFi, use it to casually surf the web or to window shop. Do not make credit card purchases or even pull up your personal bank accounts while using public WiFi, according to Durso.

"Be very, very careful to pull up a bank app. That's where you can get a single hacker where somebody is monitoring the network looking for somebody to hit certain websites. You can get compromised very easily there," says Durso. "I would be very careful to go online banking on your phone or your computer anywhere outside your secured house."

When people get their personal info stolen Durso says he has seen it take over a year to get fraudulent loans cleared from someone's credit report.

When asked whether it's worth paying for those credit monitoring services, he says it is actually money well spent since you're in for a major hassle if you get your identity stolen to prove that it wasn't you. What's worse, your credit score takes a hit.

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