More and more of us are using the convenience of shopping online to take care of holiday gift giving. The pros of online shopping seem limitless – it’s fast, convenient, and there’s a large selection to choose from. However, is it always as secure as we think? Hackers are still at large looking for opportunities (especially this time of year) to target our personal info and bank accounts. Here are some important tips to remember as you venture into the online world of shopping this holiday season!
1. Always research a business through the Better Business Bureau before making an online purchase, and check Google for reviews. You can learn a lot about how a business treats their customers, the quality of their merchandise and their return policies from first hand experiences!
2. If you happen to shop online at public places- for example a coffee house or library, sit with your back facing the wall to avoid nosy patrons looking at your screen. Better yet, you may want to avoid public Wifi altogether when making online purchases.
3. More and more often retailers are falling victim to security and data breaches. Every account you use should have a different and extremely unique password. Change all your passwords quickly if a business you shopped at contacts you about a data breach.
4. Use only credit cards for online purchases. If you use a debit card, a thief can drain your account within minutes. If you use a credit card, and a fraudulent purchase is caught, report it within 60 days and you can be reimbursed.
5. Pay careful attention to your credit card statements on a monthly basis. Hackers will often make tiny purchases at first to test the waters, so question even the smallest transactions if they seem suspicious.
6. Refrain from opening unexpected emails from retailers. Scammers send out millions of emails trying to trick consumers into clicking on their website, hoping to get personal information from you. It’s common to get these trick emails that look like they’re from a store you recently shopped at. Be careful.