With the holiday season approaching, most of us will be starting our online shopping. While it is super convenient, online shopping is also an opportunity for criminals to steal your personal information and money. The good news: By following some simple steps you can protect yourself from being a victim of fraud.
Before entering personal information on a website, make sure the site is legitimate and safe. A site that displays “https” is secure.
All too often, criminals create fake websites that look very legitimate. These fake sites display on search results when shopping for products and may lure you with prices well below competing sites. A simple Google search can reveal a lot of information about the site.
Use unique and complex passwords when shopping. It is also never a good idea to write your password on paper.
If you shop from a trusted website that offers goods sold through a third party, always investigate the seller’s reputation. Check out reviews about the seller and its policy for returns.
The holidays are a big time for fraudsters to make purchases using your information. You should make it a habit to check your credit card statements regularly and identify suspicious charges.
Watch-out for phishing emails and email scams. Phishing emails peak during the holiday season – criminals often impersonate a brand and send emails with fake offers. Always be wary of emails that have offers that are too good to be true. Do not click links or attachments on emails from parties that you do not recognize.
Apps on mobile devices are a convenient way to shop. However, ensure that the app that you are downloading is the merchant app and not a fake. You should always download apps from reliable sources such as the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
Finally, never make purchases on free wi-fi or hotspots, those methods may not have the same level of security as a personal network.