In the past decade, online shopping has become more and more popular, encouraging shoppers to find the very best deals they can. As more shoppers turn to the web for deals, more scammers turn to online shopping for a way to make an easy buck. Internet scams are increasing in sophistication, so you need to do more to protect yourself and your money. Here are simple steps you can take to shop online safely.
Secure your computers and other devices with malware, and keep it updated. This will protect you from viruses and other things that could corrupt your system. If you shop with a mobile device, make sure you take advantage of the available updates to keep your security at its best.
Scammers use confirmation and package tracking emails to steal your information. If the email is fake, they will have a link for you to click on to either confirm your order, or see the status of your order. Once you click on this, a virus enters your device allowing them to see your keystrokes and steal your usernames and passwords. These emails may look legitimate, but as a general rule, never click on a link in an email you weren’t expecting. Go to the official website to confirm directly with them the information they may have sent you. Once you make an online purchase and receive a tracking number, only track your package through the company’s website using the tracking number they provided.
Avoid Public Wi-Fi
If you want to shop online, do it when you can access private Wi-Fi. When you’re using an unsecured network, it’s easier for scammers to steal your information. If you do use a public computer, always completely log out of every website you use, and the computer as well. While using a public network, avoid signing into any accounts that contain sensitive or financial information.
Before you donate to an online charity, make sure it’s legitimate by using charitynavigator.org or Give.org.
Before you start shopping online, make sure the site you’re using is a secure one. You can tell this by the URL. If it looks like https:// it is safe. You can also check the Better Business Bureau for information about specific companies or websites.
Social Media Deals
Often times you’ll some crazy deals posted on social media, especially Facebook. These are usually not legitimate and should be avoided. Scammers will post great pictures of items, but when you receive them, they look nothing like the initial pictures.
Verify Monthly Statements
If you purchase a good deal of things online, it’s wise to check your bank and credit card statements on a regular basis. If you see any transactions that you didn’t make, you can report it immediately.
Don’t Use Debit Cards
Debit cards are much more dangerous in the hands of scammers than credit cards because if you debit card gets compromised, they have access to your own money. Trying to get this money back takes much longer and is much harder than money that was taken from your credit card. If money is taken out of your checking account, this could also result in bounced checks and overdraft fees.