Action 9: Tips to keep your online accounts secure

An Albemarle man thought he was careful when it came to shopping online, until someone was able to hack into his Amazon account and make purchases.

Tommy Thompson told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke that he greatly increased his shopping on Amazon during the pandemic. He thought he used strong passwords, but someone was able to use his account to buy a GoPro camera that cost $437.99.

“It was shocking,” he said. “I went in panic mode for a little while and then I realized I can’t really get anything done in panic mode, so I had to kind of calm myself down.”

He contacted Amazon and they said someone must have stolen his username and password.

Amazon told Thompson to change his password and canceled the unauthorized order, along with other charges he didn’t recognize.

Thompson says everything was taken care of, but he did learn a valuable lesson. “To make sure that my usernames and passwords are secure, and I change them often,” he said.

Stoogenke discovered that there are three ways criminals are usually able to steal someone’s online account information from any website, not just on Amazon:

- Customers use weak passwords or use the same password on multiple websites.

- A person clicks on a link they shouldn’t have, so watch out for phishing emails and texts.

- Data breaches, which consumers can’t do much to prevent. You can check to see if your email or phone number has been involved in a breach by using this website: haveibeenpwned.com.

Stoogenke offers these tips when shopping online:

- Use passwords that are strong and that you don’t use anywhere else.

- Choose multi-step authentication if you can. The company will text you a code when you try to log in to make sure it’s you.

- Never click on a link that asks you to confirm your customer information.

(WATCH: Popular app used to send money putting some at risk of being hacked)