Shopping Online This Holiday Season? Do It Safely!

Posted on 12/08/2016

We’re all busy shopping this season, and more and more of that shopping is being done online. How to be sure you’re shopping online safely? Here are a few tips:

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1. Patch security vulnerabilities in your devices. Install Operating System updates to patch security vulnerabilities and enhance the performance of your computers and devices. Cybercriminals can exploit vulnerabilities in your devices to obtain your personal and financial information. Don’t allow it. If you need help performing these updates, please give us a call. We’ll walk you through the necessary steps.

2. Ensure your Anti-Virus, Malware and Ransomware protection is operating optimally. Before transmitting personal and financial information online, be sure your protection software is performing well. All these security measures running in the background are important to safeguard your well-earned money and identity.

3. Avoid using public Wi-Fi when shopping or banking. Don’t transmit any personal or financial information, such as passwords, credit card info, etc., when using a public Wi-Fi. Unsecure connections are just too risky.

4. Shop trusted merchants. Carefully read the merchant’s Shipping fees, Delivery and Return policies and other Terms and Conditions prior to purchasing goods or services. Read the item’s description and, if possible, also research merchant and product reviews as well.

5. Research less-known merchants. Sometimes that unique, amazing item is listed in a one-of-a-kind website. Before being hasty, research the store’s physical address and telephone number as well as their reputation. Assess the risk of the unknown before going forward.

6. Ensure a secure payment page. Be sure the merchant uses a secure connection on the payment page by using https:// in their URL and/or the image of a lock.
7. Be extra diligent about possible fraud on online classifieds ads sites such as Craigslist. Scammers can be very sophisticated in their con. They may even create dummy Google Checkout websites to take your money without delivering the product. Verify the legitimacy of the seller, the product and the method of payment before you pay. Read more about this topic here.

8. Be alert for phishing scams. Pop-ups for sites that you are not actively visiting may be the work of cybercriminals. The pop-ups could be of familiar ‘Banks’ or ‘Virus Checks.’ If you did not initiate contact with these companies, don’t give out your personal data or download anything. If you have any questions about the security on your devices, give us a call. Learn more about phishing scams here.

9. Use your credit card, instead of your debit card. Typically, it is easier to dispute the charge on a credit card than a debit card. It is also harder to get a refund on a debit card.

10. Monitor your bank and credit card statements. Save your receipts and compare them to your credit card and bank statements regularly. Report any questionable charges to the issuer of the card.

(Article courtesy of our local Suburban West Realtors Association)