Cyber Shopping Safety

Cyber Shopping Safety

When the holidays arrive they bring cheer, warmth, and bright spirits. Family and friends travel from near and far to share quality time and delicious food with those that matter most. The holidays are a time for giving. For some, however, they are also a time for taking. Protect your credit by taking the proper precautions this season and looking for these red flags.

“Sale” Email

If it sounds too good to be true…it probably is. Emails soliciting you to visit and shop at sites that offer deals that seem outrageous should be carefully avoided. Links that come straight to your email can be particularly risky. These types of links could direct you to phishing sites that steal your payment information. To avoid these potential risks, visit the online retailer of your choice directly. By accessing the retailers’ site directly you can verify that the store and the advertised prices are legitimate.

Holiday E-Cards

Solicitations for outrageous deals may not be the only potential scams filling your inbox this season. Proceed with caution when handling emails from unnamed recipients. These types of messages are likely to contain malware, software that is intended to damage or disable computers and computer systems.

You should also be cautions when opening electronic holiday greetings from friends and family It is possible the email accounts of your loved ones may have been hacked. To be certain, look for a confirmation code at the issuing website to open the e-cards you receive.

Donation Requests

During this time of year good will abounds and donations are plenty. With people donating everything from clothes and shoes to bags and furniture, it is important that before writing a check you make sure you’re supporting a legitimate cause. Two great sites for researching and verifying legitimacy are Charity Navigator or the Better Business Bureau.

Protect yourself with the following tips:

  • In the store before you purchase any gift cards be sure to check the back to make sure the activation code has not been tampered with or compromised.
  • While out and about shopping, keep a close eye on your cash and be on the lookout for pickpockets, dishonest cashiers, and credit card skimmers, these are devices made to be affixed to the mouth of an ATM and secretly swipecredit and debit card information when bank customers slip their cards into the machines to pull out money.
  • When shopping online always look for “https” in the URL. The “s” means the website is safer and more secure and provides more security for sharing important or private personal information.
  • For online purchases, avoid using a debit card. Credit card charges can be disputed with much less difficulty than debit accounts. Also, debit cards may be less likely to be reimbursed if the card number falls into the wrong hands.
  • When traveling be careful to keep your personal belongings close by and never unattended.
  • When accessing the internet on the go, take caution when searching for mobile internet access. Many internet scammers target holiday travelers at Wi-Fi hotspots with email messages promising “free trips” and more.

Just as there are countless ways to show your love and affection for the ones you hold near and dear during the season of giving, there are also many ways to be tricked and taken advantage of. Watching for the red flags above will keep you and your pockets safe and secure from theft and other types of scams so that you can truly enjoy what this time of year is all about, good will.

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