Tips for Safe Online Shopping During the Holidays
The holiday season is upon us and this year (more than ever), companies are moving their sales to strictly online deals. We’re taking this opportunity to keep our community aware of where they’re shopping and who they’re giving their vulnerable information to. Now is not the time to let cybercrime ruin your holidays – so, let’s take a look at some tips to keep your personal information safe this holiday season!
Do Your Research Before Purchasing from Unfamiliar Websites
Are you shopping from a website you’ve never heard of before? If the website and the deal seem reasonable and not too good to be true, check for the following before handing over your information:
- Check the URL. Does it start with https? Websites with https instead of http are more secure from outside threats that are trying to steal your information but be aware, scammers can still create websites with https.
- Look up reviews on a third-party website. Google and the Better Business Bureau offer legitimate reviews. Make sure there’s a significant amount of positive reviews over time.
Are You Supplying the Appropriate Information for Your Purchase?
If you’re purchasing from a legitimate business, they’re not going to request information that may see inappropriate. For instance, they won’t ask for (to name a few):
- Your birthdate
- Where you were born
- Your social security number
Keep in mind you don’t have to fill out form fields that aren’t required and when in doubt, purchase from a different company.
Don’t Use Your Debit Card
Your debit card is directly linked your bank account. When online shopping, credit cards or third-party payment services like PayPal or Venmo keep themselves further removed from your money. Credit card companies and payment services like the ones listed above are required to have additional safeguards in place to protect you from fraud.
Although using your credit card is safer, it’s important to keep an eye on your statements and current activity. Credit card companies are quicker to dispute chargers and it’s easier for them to act against fraud or cyber-attacks on your credit cards.
Beware of Fake Promotions
While it’s not just during the holiday season, we’re more likely to receive an abundance of emails in our inboxes with deals that often times look too good to be true. While we do receive emails from companies we have subscribed to, be sure to check links prior to clicking on them. It’s also important to check the email it’s being sent from – because emails can be spoofed, too! Take the extra time to take additional precautions to avoid fraud, viruses, or malware.