According to a study done by Adobe Analytics, online shoppers will be spending a record breaking $143 billion this holiday season. The internet makes holiday shopping nearly effortless, no fighting for a parking spot or standing in lines. Shipping is fast; returns are easy. As quick and painless as digital shopping can be, there are still risks involved. Take some of the worry out of your online shopping by following these eight safety tips:
- Stay Secure. Look for the URL to show as HTTPS and for the padlock icon. This means it is a secure site and your credit card number will be encrypted.
- Keep it Private. Make sure you are not using a public network to shop. Secure your personal network and shop with that.
- Stick with Familiar Sites. You’re better off shopping with well-known online retailers like Amazon, Ebay, or Etsy rather than using the search engine to find a specific product.
- Choose Credit over Debit. Use a credit card, not a debit card to make online purchases. The security code on the back of your card offers increased security making it harder for criminals to use your card fraudulently.
- Consider Other Payment Options. For a second layer of protection, use an alternative form of payment, such as a pre-paid debit card, PayPal, Apple Pay or Google Pay.
- Make Passwords Long and Strong. Utilize the whole keyboard when creating passwords by using letters, numbers and symbols. Also, have different passwords for separate accounts.
- Beware Deals Sent Via Email. Never click on links sent out in unsolicited emails by unfamiliar websites. You could get caught in a phishing trap.
- Ship to a Secure Location. If you’re worried about “porch pirates,” have your packages shipped to an alternate location such as your work or shipping locations or lockers offered by companies such as Amazon, UPS, or FedEx.
Following this advice will help keep you safe from hackers and thieves, but you should also be diligent about your bank accounts. Check your statements or online banking often for fraudulent charges or billing mistakes. Setting up alerts with your bank will add another layer of protection in case your account is compromised. You will be contacted if the bank sees anything out of the ordinary.
Stay safe and happy shopping!