Let the shopping begin! December is here, and many of us will begin our holiday shopping. Due to the convenience thousands of individuals will shop online. Shopping online is great especially if you are trying to avoid long lines and crowds. However, there are people online waiting to take advantage of you. Here are some online shopping safety tips which can help you avoid being a victim of identity theft or Internet scams.
* Shop only at well-established online stores. You can learn a lot about the store by reading the comments and feedback from other customers.
* When paying, make sure the website address begins with https. The “s” at the end means it is secure and the website encrypts your information.
* Look for the padlock icon in the browser bar. If the padlock icon appears on the webpage, but not in the browser bar, it might be a graphic a cyber-criminal embedded to trick you into thinking the website is secure.
* Use a credit card instead of a debit card. Most credit cards offer better protection against unauthorized purchases.
* DO NOT exchange your personal information in exchange for prizes or special offers. It may be a trick to get you to give away sensitive information.
* Ignore pop-up messages while on shopping sites. Set up your browser to block pop-up messages.
* Be careful when using public WiFi networks. The safest public networks are those where you have to type in a password.
* Before purchasing an item you are unsure about, know the company’s return policy.
* Before you finalize your purchase calculate the total price of your purchase. Sometimes there are unexpected taxes, handling and shipping fees, you may not be aware of.
* Avoid shopping in stores outside the United States. If you have an issue with the purchased item it can be difficult to return or exchange or even resolve other disputes.
* Monitor your monthly statements to make sure there are no unauthorized purchases. If you find unauthorized charges, contact your bank or the credit card company immediately.