Tips To Keep Your Holiday Shopping Safe
Pay Attention to Website Addresses
Do not enter any personal information if a website address does not start with https:// The “s” stands for secure and should be the first thing you check on each website you are visiting.
Use a Credit Card or Debit Card
It is always recommended to use a credit or debit card when making online purchases. In the event of a dispute with the retailer, you have a documented paper trail for proof of purchase. Never send cash through the mail or do a wire transfer to a party you are not familiar with. There is no recourse should something go wrong.
Do not use a public computer or Wi-Fi
Be sure you are logged on to a secured wireless network and using a private computer, tablet, or smartphone to make your purchase. Many websites will store personal information and card numbers to enhance your shopping experience. If you are using a public computer or unsecured Wi-Fi, you could potentially be putting your information at risk. It is better to use your own data plan versus an unsecured wireless network to check your accounts or access personal information on your smartphone, tablet or laptop.
Do not give out any more information than necessary
Most online retailers only need to know your name, address, and credit card information to process a payment. Be suspicious if a site asks for your Social Security Number or Date of Birth (unless you get some awesome birthday perks for providing that information!)
Never click on links from Spam email(s)
Best practice is to use an internet search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc) to find a secure website to make your purchase. Clicking on links from Spam emails from someone you do not know often leads to computer viruses and identity theft, including stolen credit and debit card numbers.
Trust Your Gut
If a website does not look right or a deal is just too good to be true, always err on the side of caution before giving out any credit card or account information. Do some research upfront to avoid costly problems down the road. For example, call the company to verify an online sale price if it seems too good to be true. Keep an eye out for misspelled words or logos that look altered. That may be your first clue that you are not on a secure site.