Completing your holiday shopping from the comfort of your own home has never been easier. As more and more consumers choose to shop online, however, the risks grow. Cybercrimes such as non payment, non delivery of goods and phishing are on the rise. Taking some basic precautions such as shopping only on familiar, secure websites with a credit card can help ensure you keep your information safe from scammers.

How to Keep Your Information Safe

Verify Security of Websites and Apps

Some online websites don’t offer secure shopping, which leaves your information open to scammers. Be sure to shop only on websites that are secure, as identified by the URL or a small padlock icon in the address bar. A secure URL starts with “https” instead of “http.” The “s” stands for “secure.”

With the popularity of phone and mobile device apps today, it is necessary to take precautions when shopping on retail apps as well. Go to a company’s official website to avoid fake apps. Check any app’s reviews and make sure it has high ratings from a number of users. Never be the first to download a new shopping app.

Phishing scams also target consumers during the holiday season via email and phone. Phishing communications may look and sound like they are from legitimate stores, financial institutions, or companies. Scrolling and hovering your mouse over any links contained in an email that ask you to “click here” will typically reveal that the communication is counterfeit and does not lead to a secure site. Never click on links or respond to requests for personal information that you did not initiate.

Use Credit Not Debit

Using a credit card instead of a debit card for purchases affords more protection when buying online. Credit companies typically won’t hold customers liable for more than $50 worth of fraudulent charges, so long as a customer reports a card lost or stolen within a defined timeframe. In contrast, consumer liability for fraudulent debit card transactions is virtually unlimited and whatever money is stolen will not be refunded.

Shop on Secure Wi-Fi

Shopping on public computers or on public Wi-Fi at your local coffee shop is not advisable, as you have no control over who might have used a computer before you or might be accessing the same network. You don’t know if spyware or malware has infected a computer that isn’t yours. Shopping at home on your secure, personal Wi-Fi network is much safer.

Regularly Check Statements

Regularly checking debit and credit card statements enables you to quickly catch fraudulent purchases. Don’t wait for bills or statements to come at the end of the month. Frequently check electronic statements and credit, debit, and checking accounts for unfamiliar charges.

Shopping online during the holiday season is a welcome convenience for many busy consumers. Taking precautions to make sure your online purchases are secure and sensitive information is protected will ensure your holidays stay happy.

Contact a Cole Harrison agent today to make sure you have the right insurance coverage for all of your needs during and after the holidays.

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