The online Christmas shopping season has officially begun.
Whether you are a seasoned expert or a newcomer on the scene, make sure the perfect deal does not turn into the perfect holiday scheme for online hackers.
Use Familiar Websites:
Walmart. Target. Amazon. The names have one thing in common; they are stores that everyone recognizes. However, before you give away your information, make sure that these sites live up to their name. Key components to look for are misspellings and if the the site uses a top-level domain like a .net instead of a .com. Don’t be fooled by the name, do your research.
Make Sure Site is Secure:
If you chose to steer away from the brand named stores, take a look at the url for the website. If the site is secure, a padlock will appear with an HTTPS:// before it. The “s” at the end of your HTTP shows that the site has taken the necessary precautions to protect your information.
Don’t Tell All:
You have found the right deal, and you are ready to buy the perfect gift. If the site asks for your social security number when you are filling out your information, a red flag should go off in your mind. If a website asks for anything other than your name, address, credit card information, and phone number, it would probably be wise to step away from the gift and try another secure site. No gift is worth losing your identity over. Your family member will understand.
There’s No Place Like Home:
Face it. Online shopping is an opportunity to stay home in your comfortable clothes with your favorite Christmas movie playing in the background. Home is where you are considered the safest. It is one thing to enter your credit card information in the comfort of your home, but when you are in a public restaurant you are giving any over-the-shoulder stranger enough time to steal your numbers.
Read the Reviews and Keep Records:
Stay diligent and stay organized with where your buy your presents online. The first aspect is to read the reviews on your products. If an item has the generic 5 star ratings, buy at your own risk. Often sites hire robots to write positive reviews to make the items look superior.
Second, make sure to keep records of what you have bought throughout the online shopping season. Print out any online tracking numbers and gift receipts to keep track of what you have bought. Also, check your statements regularly to make sure that you were not overcharged or made any purchases that you never bought.
The world is full of grinches that want to make sure that your online shopping experience turns into a nightmare. Stay savvy, smart, and safe to make sure that your information is protected this Christmas season.
Lynsey Hentrich | Instagram: lynsey_hentich94 | Twitter: @LynseyH94 | LinkedIn: Lynsey Hentrich