Safe Online Shopping

We are just over a week away from Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the kickoff to the holiday shopping season. According to eMarketer.com, retail e-commerce spending is expected to rise by 16.2% in 2018! After all, it’s tough to resist picking up a really great deal, especially when it’s from the comfort of your sofa or in between that last bite of Thanksgiving turkey and first taste of pumpkin pie. But how do you know while you are picking up that perfect gift that your credit card information isn’t being stolen by hackers? There are some easy tips to follow for safe online shopping that will help your peace of mind this holiday season.

TIP 1) Shopping is more fun in your PJ’s

Meaning, shop from the comfort of your home, on your network, behind your firewalls. Public Wi-Fi networks offer no protection for your private information, allowing it to be easily hacked. If you really want to enjoy that cup of coffee at the local café while you shop, then use your smartphone as a personal hotspot while you make your purchases. Another option is to shop with gift cards so you aren’t providing your financial information over the internet.

TIP 2) Always use protection

Safe online shopping starts with a secure Internet connection. Any reputable e-commerce site should be doing its due diligence to protect you, too! Look for URL’s that begin with “https” rather than “http” – the “s” stands for “secure” and indicates the site encrypts your data during transmission. In addition, check for security seals such as DigiCert, TRUSTe, or VeriSign for the checkout process.

TIP 3) Get to know them

Make sure you are familiar with the site you are purchasing from, and more importantly, that it is the legitimate website of the vendor you are expecting! A link from an email may take you to a phishing site that is set up to look identical to your favorite retailer. Check URL’s closely for misspelled names and be wary of “too good to be true” offers or e-commerce forms that request excessive personal information to complete your transaction. These are all signs of scams.

TIP 4) Time for a credit check

Credit cards are the best option for safe online shopping. Unlike your debit card, a credit card has built-in fraud protection and limits your liability against unauthorized purchases. Because it is not connected to your bank account, if it is compromised, your savings and checking assets aren’t touched, and the card can be easily canceled to avoid future charges. For similar reasons, PayPal is another good option. And of course, check your statement each month to make sure your purchases match up!

With some careful planning for safe online shopping, you’ll be ready for all the deals heading your way next week!