Online Shopping can be a life saver over the holiday season. Instead of running to several stores to get holiday gifts, you can sit in the comfort of your home and with a few clicks, you are one and done. Of course, nothing is fail-safe. Exposing your private information on the internet is the No. 1 concern with shopping online.
Follow these tips to keep your information safe online:
- Shop on sites you trust. If you are unfamiliar with a website, look for a customer service phone number and a return policy. If these aren’t listed, there is cause to believe you won’t be able to contact them if there is an issue.
- Do your research. Make sure that you are shopping from a reputable online shop. A quick google search of the online site will likely pull reviews of other customers experience on the site. If you are still unsure, there are other tools on the web that help to identify online fraud. SiteJabber is a website that helps identify if other sites are less than reputable.
- Take it to social media. If you can’t find any site reviews, do a quick search to see if they have a Facebook page and if their page is up to date. Most businesses today will have a website and a Facebook page. Their Facebook page should have a phone number listed for customer service issues. Check their facebook reviews and look at their feed. A reputable business will have Facebook posts and a profile picture and cover photo.
- Make sure their checkout page is secure. Most secure checkout pages are encrypted using SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) technology. This is typically indicated by a padlock icon. This is an extra layer of security to protect your information running between their server and your computer during checkout.
- Use a credit card that is not connected to your bank account. If there are any issues, you can dispute the charges with your credit card company. If your debit card information is stolen, chances are you will have to close your account and will have no direct access to the money that was stolen until an investigation has occurred.
- Print or take a screenshot of your receipt or payment confirmation. Emails can get lost in the mix. Never assume the company will email you a confirmation. If the company is fraudulent, chances are they will skip any step that ties them to the order.
- If you suspect fraud has occurred, call your bank right away. While credit card numbers can be stolen online, chances are your bank or credit card company will flag any purchases that are suspicious in nature. If you have questions on your credit card providers fraud prevention services, give them a call before you start your online purchases.