Buying your Christmas present from the comfort of your own home seems quick and easy. You don’t need to dress up and you can finish shopping in minutes.
However, thieves rely on you to shop online. When you do, they can steal your personal information and your money.
Adobe Analytics predicts that Americans will spend nearly $ 210 million on online purchases this season. But many people trade their security for convenience.
Melanie Oliverus buys online. “Use a secure browser. It’s really important, ”said Oliverus.
WINK News safety and security specialist Rich Kolko says scammers are aware that those who aren’t seasoned online shoppers do so during the holiday season. And seasoned online shoppers can let their guard down.
Kolko’s advice is to look for HTTPS or the lock at the beginning of any web address, especially ones you can use for shopping. If the padlock is not there, beware.
“A lot of these crooks will create sites that look like other sites. So now you are sending your information, including your credit card information, to a scammer who can get you in trouble, ”Kolko said.
Another tip from the safety and security specialist at WINK News is to use a credit card instead of a debit card. “You have additional protections. Once you’ve created a debit card, they immediately withdraw that money from your account, ”Kolko said.
Client Natalie Silguero went further. “If I shop online, I usually make purchases like VISA cards, so they don’t steal my information,” Silguero said.
When possible, try to “go guest shopping”. This way, you won’t have to provide as much information as if you were signing up on a retail website. The less information these sites contain, the better.
“The problem is, these companies aren’t necessarily doing all they can to protect this data. So they become vulnerable to hackers, ”Kolko said.
Another thing to watch out for is the distant search for a customer service number. It’s a red flag.
Also check a store’s return and shipping policies so that if something is wrong with your order, you’ll know what to do.