Avoid Scams With These Holiday Shopping Safety Tips

December 4, 2019

Millions of holiday shoppers plan to make purchases online during the holiday season.  Sadly, the world’s scariest online scammers are ready to celebrate the season with you … exposing your identity and draining your wallet.

A recent Experian® survey found that 43% of victims said their identity theft occurred while holiday shopping online. Experian® projects the average American consumer will spend more than $1,000 on holiday shopping, putting about $149 billion in online holiday shopping sales from November to January at risk. To help you stay safe while shopping online, we created this list of top tips.

Ship Gifts to a Secure Address  
The rise of online shopping has led to an increase in home deliveries and an increase in thieves who steal packages right from your porch. If you can’t be home to accept a package, consider shipping to your office or another safe place. Most major shipping companies also offer lockers close to you for secure deliveries.

Shop Using Official Retailer Apps
Mobile apps allow you to shop on the go, making the holidays a little bit easier. However, installing an app laced with malicious software, or malware, invites criminals to infiltrate smartphones. Protect yourself against malicious mobile activity by only downloading apps from reputable stores like Amazon ©, Apple ©, and Google Play ®. Always read app reviews before downloading to see if others had problems.

Never Save Your Credit Card Information
While it’s convenient to store personal information in your online accounts, it comes with considerable risk. Some retailers may not be equipped to secure your info properly, as we’ve seen in the news with the recent retailer data breaches. Saving your data could leave your personal details and payment data vulnerable to scammers. Skip the autofill option or use a password manager to give you an extra layer of protection on your account information.

Don’t Use Public Wi-Fi to Make Purchases
You’re out having coffee, looking cute in your new holiday sweater, so it’s only natural to be tempted to do a little quick online shopping from the local cafe. However, Wi-Fi networks use public airwaves where thieves can intercept the data you send and receive, including your name, address, and credit card information. Your first layer of protection starts with your internet connection.

Check Site Security Policies
That small lock icon in the corner of your URL bar tells you that you’re on a secure site, confirmed by the “https” in the front of the web address. Secure websites mask any data you share, typically on pages that ask for passwords or financial information. If you don’t see that lock icon or the “s” after “http,” then you’re not on a secure site and should exercise caution before providing any sensitive information.

Retailers will Never Ask for your Social Security Number
If anyone online asks for this very personal data, call the customer service line and request to supply alternative identifying information. Better yet, walk away and find a different website for your holiday shopping.

Monitor Bank Accounts & Credit Card Statements
We know holiday shopping can really tack on pages to your credit card statements. It’s still crucial to diligently go over every line item to check for fraudulent charges at least once a week. You can also set up spending alerts to text or email you so you can check whether or not you recognize the charge.

Online scammers are particularly dangerous for older generations who might not be as savvy with online interactions.
Read more about protecting your loved ones HERE

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