There’s just a few rules/tips that I live by to stay safe while online shopping during the holiday season…
With the recent Equifax data breach, I became extra careful about my personal information. I was thankfully not seriously affected by the breach but I became more aware of how easily identity theft could occur especially because of online shopping.
There are 3 rules I live by while shopping online:
It has to be a trusted retailer/e-commerce website.
I always purchase from sites that I trust and have purchased from before. I especially like the ones that actually have a local store. If they don’t, I go for reputable sites such as Amazon. I don’t usually purchase from sites I don’t know but when I do, I make sure that I research them throughly and that they are a legitimate business.
If you use Instagram heavily like I do, you’ve probably noticed that there are quite a few sketchy looking Instagram shops. I saw a sponsored post from these shops before and a lot of comments say that they didn’t get their product. So especially during the holiday season, I won’t risk buying from these Instagram shops at all (even if the price is very tempting). If it’s too good to be true, it’s most likely too good to be true.
I always pay with credit cards.
I’ve personally had experiences where my card was charged with something I didn’t purchase. If it was a debit card, the money was immediately charged; I would have to wait to see if the bank would reimburse me for an unauthorized charge and worry about the fact that the theft has complete access to all my money in the bank.
But with a credit card, fees are paid later so it’s not an immediate lost. Thankfully, I used a credit card and had reported it that same day. The transaction was taken off of my account and I was sent a new card a few days later. The whole process was less worrisome and less complicated with a credit card.
In addition, I have set up notifications for my various cards to notify me via an app if any transactions are made. The notifications are very instant and I get them about a minute after I purchase something. I highly recommend that you do something similar (doesn’t have to be an app, any form or notification will work) and just in case, always double check your statement.
I never click on ads.
Emails scams and pop up ads seem to be the oldest scams in the book but they do still happen! If it’s an email from an unfamiliar business or email subscription, I just delete it. I won’t even open it. Pop up ads or even banners are the same; I can’t delete them so I ignore them. Those sites that even has pop up ads (especially those ones that says that your computer has been infected and you can’t even close the window), I wouldn’t even revisit.
Side note: if you get those annoying pop ups ads that won’t let you close the window, don’t click it. I like to just force quit the browser (on the mac, right click, hold down options, force quit; if I remember correctly on the PC, it’s ctrl+alt+del, start task manager, click browser listed, end task). And then, I would never go back on that site ever. Ever!
I also found some more useful tips from LifeLock, a modern identity theft protection company, about how to stay safe while online shopping this holiday. Here’s a few interesting facts, just to help you be more aware.
With the increase of online shopping, I’ve noticed that’s an increase of people stealing mail and packages during the holidays. So be careful and stay safe during the holidays!