Here are some tips for secure online shopping this season:
- Never email any financial information: It doesn’t matter if it is your cousin or your grandma, DON’T email any credit card or checking account numbers. If a seller is asking for these details, it is a strong sign they probably aren’t legitimate. If you’re suspicious about sending a payment suggest using PayPal or other secure payment processing sites.
- Read the fine print & exchange policy BEFORE you purchase: A gift might be exactly what you’re looking for but make sure you are well aware of the return/exchange policy before you buy. You might have chosen the perfect gift but it doesn’t always arrive that way, keeping documentation of purchases always helps when disputing an order.
- Don’t fall for phishing: Coupons and exclusive sales will be one form of bait this holiday season. Phishing emails from your favorite retailers will promise deals that don’t exist. Hover over links before clicking them and never open attachments.
- Don’t get smished: Spam text messages are a growing trend this season. More mobile users are receiving texts about winning gift cards in contests they didn’t enter. These messages include a link that directs the user to a fake website that asks for personal information or credit card details. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Buy gift cards directly from the retailer because fraudsters can easily create phony gift cards with fake balances.
If you’re suspicious about a sale, reach out to the retailer directly. Be a wise shopper this season and only shop the real sales.