Online Shopping: Protect Yourself!

Online shopping is quick, convenient, and great for finding gifts at great prices. But, especially around the holidays, criminals waiting in the shadows in the hopes of stealing your personal information. These tips will help you be a savvy online shopper.

It’s that time of year again! The holidays are coming up, and you know what that means… it’s time to shop! Being the busy person that you are, most likely you will do some of your shopping online. And who can blame you? Great prices, great selection, free gift-wrap… what’s not to love?

But beware; taking advantage of the convenience in shopping online could pose risks to both your personal information and your PC. As long as you’re aware of the key issues, you can shop anytime, with the knowledge to protect you.

Not every Web site and online shop is a safe and reputable merchant! The truth is many thieves are quite skilled at crafting very convincing, legitimate-looking online shopping sites. Be very careful who you purchase from! Make sure you know where you’re shopping and that you read all the fine print.

A common phishing tactic targeting online shoppers utilizes online promotions and sales to entice a consumer to enter personal information in order to receive coupons or other merchandise. While many reputable sites offer coupons or samples, they will never ask for excessive amounts of personal information to redeem them, most only require a name and email address.

But don’t back away from the PC just yet! By taking into account a few simple actions, you can protect your credit, purchases, and personal information while shopping online. Go ahead and give that credit card a workout. You can be safe and savvy at the same time.

  • Always shop from a secure PC with a good security suite installed.
  • Try to stick to the sites you know and trust… think Amazon, Overstock, and large store websites.  
  • If you heard about a “great gift” or “special offer” through an email from an unknown address, it is likely fake and should be avoided.
  • You should use credit cards instead of debit cards. Debit cards offer a lower liability in case you are the victim of fraud.
  • Check for security seals on all shopping sites, such as VeriSign
  • Make sure that the connection to the website is an https. This doesn’t guarantee safety, but in most cases these sites are safe.
  • Consider alternative ways of payment, such as cash upon delivery

So enjoy your online holiday shopping sprees. Giving the gift of happiness this holiday season doesn’t have to cost you more than you’ve bargained for.

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