As the holiday season approaches, many of our members will be shopping online for gifts. Shopping online can save money and be super convenient for people on the go. But while having its many advantages, online shopping introduces as many potential threats to your financial security. Cyber fraud is big business and there are dangerous individuals online looking to profit off of your misfortune. The trick is to take extra precautions when buying online and be aware of suspicious websites. Please read these tips to help you keep your online transactions safe this holiday season.
- Check for a Lock – A quick way to check and make sure the site you are buying from is secure is by looking in your web browsers address bar and checking for a padlock symbol. This padlock signifies an SSL certificate. This means a trusted company has verified that the site represents who it says it represents.
- Buy from Trusted Sites – Buying from trusted online retailers will reduce the chances of your credit card information being stolen. Larger retailers like Amazon, Etsy, or Ebay tend to have processes in place to protect both buyers and sellers from fraud.
- Use a Credit Card – Using a credit card instead of a debit card adds an extra layer of security when shopping online. Credit card transactions can be disputed and tend to have better security measures such as theft detection and automatic cancellation.
- Research the Company – It doesn’t take more than a few seconds to perform a Google search around a suspicious company. Check if they have received negative reviews online or complaints through the Better Business Bureau. Send a quick email to the company email address and see if you get a response. If anything looks suspicious, go somewhere else.
- Looks can be Deceiving – All because a website looks professional, doesn’t mean it is not capable of stealing your credit card information. In fact, quite the opposite. Flashy sites can be built in a night. It is what is lurking in the backend that matters. If anything looks suspicious, do not enter your information!
These tips do not guarantee financial security when shopping online. When you are entering credit card information over the Internet, you assume the risk of fraud. That being said, taking these precautions can help. Please be safe when shopping this holiday season.