Stay Safe with Your Holiday Shopping

It’s probably not a surprise that over 50% of all retail buying now happens over the internet. And with all that purchasing activity, comes increased cybersecurity risks that all online consumers need to be aware of.

Here are 3 important things to keep in mind as you hit that “Buy” button this holiday season.

  • Credit, not debit. The internet doesn’t take cash, so before you start typing your card number into that form field, make sure you’re using a credit card and not a debit card. Yes, we are all trying not to rack up debt at the end of the year, but paying with a credit card gives you rights under the Fair Credit Billing Act that using a debit card doesn’t. So, it’s much easier to dispute a package that wasn’t delivered to your expectations this way. If you’re adamantly against credit cards, load up a pre-paid card to stay safe.
  • Fake texts. We’ve all become a bit savvier to SPAM in our inbox, but the new delivery method for scammers is text. Like certain persuasive emails, you may start receiving texts his month that seem very enticing to click on. Don’t. Instead, visit the retailer’s website and cross-check the deal to make sure it’s a true offer. And, usually, a text response of “STOP” to any unwanted text promotion should cease any future texts from coming to you. If that doesn’t work, you know it’s a scam.
  • Stay in “Guest” mode. Many websites will ask you to create an account – and they make it very easy to do so – when you’re completing a purchase for the first time on their website. With the obvious exception for or other highly-established brands, even if you think you may be purchasing from this retailer again, resist the urge and check out as a guest. Why? If the site turns out to be fraudulent, you’ve likely given them even more personal information while creating your account that they can then use for nefarious purposes.

It’s just a good rule of thumb, in general, to surf the internet with a healthy bit of skepticism. Especially during this time of the year, when it can really save you some financial heartache and hassle by keeping an eye out for scams.