Stay Safe During Holiday Online Shopping

Black Friday has passed, but there are still online shopping deals to be had between now and the holidays, whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas—or just exchanging gifts with loved ones.

But nothing ruins the perfect shopping trip online than your identity being stolen and having to make all those calls to replace your credit cards and try to restore your credit. How can you avoid that happening? Here are our tips for safe online shopping! Check back next week for our tips on brick and mortar shopping. (Yes, people still go to stores.)

  1. Look for the “lock”: A secure shopping website will have the little green padlock up to the left of the URL, and ideally have “https” instead of the usual “http” in the URL itself.
  2. Shop at home: While it might be nice to sip a latte at the local coffee shop while you do your online shopping, but is their WiFi secure? Probably not, and even if it is, don’t risk it!
  3. Don’t save personal information: It may be extremely tempting to click the “save your information” button on a website you frequent, but by saving your password or credit card information you could be exposing yourself if (and when) they have a security breach. (Can you say “Target”?). It only takes a few moments to reenter this information each time, and use PayPal if you really don’t want to keep reentering it.
  4. Watch for fake emails: Thieves are online too, and they are getting more sophisticated with their “phishing” emails. Online shopping can be rife with these, especially when it comes to shipping confirmation emails. Be wary of any email that asks for sensitive information, like your social security number, mother’s maiden name, bank account info, etc. Amazon.com orders are very susceptible to these phishing scams, so be extra careful.
  5. Review purchases: Check your credit card statements often to make sure there are no additional purchases. Many credit cards and banks have fraud auditing services, so if an 800 number comes through after a purchase, make sure to answer it. And if you find suspicious activity, call your credit card or bank immediately.
  6. Ship to secure location: Front porch thefts are becoming more and more prevalent these days, so unless you have a large dog to wait for the delivery man and protect your purchases left on the front porch, we’d recommend having them sent to your office or a neighbor who is home during the day.

So now get back to shopping online with these tips and keep your money and purchases safe!

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