You’re making your list, checking it twice and ready to knock out most of your holiday shopping in the wee hours of the night in your PJs. Online shopping is here to stay. U.S. consumers spent $5 billion during 2017’s Black Friday, while Amazon accounted for 44 percent for all U.S. ecommerce sales in that same year.
Chances are you will buy at least a few items online this holiday season, so it is helpful to be armed with the latest tips to ensure you are shopping smart and safe.
1. Don’t save your financial details on the store sites.
Sure, it might be convenient to not have to re-enter your card for future shopping visits, but these sites are hacked on occasion. Even the most reputable brands are susceptible, so don’t make it easy for them to grab your details. Enter your credit card info each time, or consider paying with Apple Pay®, PayPal® or Google Pay®.
2. Recognize that phishing emails have gotten really good.
You suddenly receive a scary email from your bank, iTunes®, or your favorite credit card. It says your account has been compromised and you need to change your password immediately, or need to log-in right away to view recent charges. First, take a breath and check who the email is coming from–chances are the email address is fake. Second, visit the website directly. Do not click on the links within the email, but type in the known website address and log-in as you usually would. Or call your financial institution directly and tell them you’ve received a suspicious email. Phishing attacks are simple, low-tech, and exploit weaknesses in human nature. We want to click on the email–whether it is driving us to a fabulous deal, or encouraging us to check out a concern on an account. Be mindful when you are reading email and overly cautious when you click on links.
3. Only shop when you are on protected, secure wi-fi.
Yes, we are much more comfortable accessing technology anywhere, anytime, but that doesn’t mean you should be offering up personal details and financial information when you’re on an unsecured wi-fi network. It is simply too easy for someone to gain visibility to your financials and suddenly have a goldmine of data to build an identity and shop with your info in the future.
4. Keep receipts filed away in a special email folder.
Sometimes in the flurry of online shopping, we forget what we purchased and at what price. Go back and ensure you received everything you purchased. Was is delivered? Did you get what you paid for? Were the right discounts applied? Did you get charged for something you never purchased? A little old school filing and cross-referencing could uncover a bad charge or undelivered package, and save you some money.
For other online shopping tips, visit a few of our previous posts.
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