A Safer Naper
November - Shop Smart
Convenience, next day delivery and countless options at your fingertips --- online shopping has only grown in popularity, and billions of dollars will be spent online this holiday season.
While online shopping is convenient, it is also an extremely lucrative opportunity for scammers to trick buyers into paying for goods they won’t receive or obtain their personal information for financial gain. So, what can you do about it?
Use familiar websites
Start at a trusted site rather than shopping with a search engine. Search results can be rigged to lead you astray, especially after the first few pages of links. Beware of misspellings or sites using a different top-level domain (.net instead of .com, for example).
Use credit cards and secure payment services instead of debit cards
Credit cards and secure payment services are safer than debit cards and offer consumers additional protection when shopping online.
Look for the lock
Never use your credit card to buy anything online from a site that doesn't have SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption installed. An SSL site will start with HTTPS:// (instead of just HTTP://). An icon of a locked padlock will appear in the status bar at the bottom of your web browser or right next to the URL in the address bar.
Don’t share everything
Online stores do not need personal information such as your social security number or birthday to do business. Providing too much personal information makes you more susceptible to identity theft.
Opt for your mobile phone network over public Wi-Fi
Public WiFi is convenient and something that we have grown to expect from restaurants and coffee shops. However, when it comes to buying online, all the convenience that comes with public Wi-Fi can be overshadowed by the many risks that that are associated with this service. Don’t log onto a public Wi-Fi to complete shopping transactions, banking, or email. Adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your phone.
Don't wait for your bill to come at the end of the month. Go online regularly during the holiday season and look at electronic credit card, debit card and checcking account statements for fraudulent charges.
Protect your PC
Make sure your computer has the latest antivirus software. You need to protect against malware and other viruses with regular updates.
Use strong passwords
Use a unique password for each of your accounts. Strong passwords include a string of text that mixes upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters.
If you plan to shop from your mobile device, use apps provided directly by the retailers.
Avoid public terminals
Avoid public terminals. If you must use one, remember to log out every time.
Only purchase gift cards from trusted sources. Scammers are known to to auction off gift cards on sites like eBay with little or no funds on them.
Plan on skipping the sites and going straight to the stores? Make yourself a harder target for criminals by following a few simple steps: