Online Shopping Safety Tips


Online shopping can be a great way to score deals and save time, whether you’re placing a quick order during your lunch hour in the office, or picking out the perfect gift at your desktop or tablet at home. You may think you’re shopping safely behind your monitor, but you can also become a cyber victim by exposing your devices and personal information to potential thieves. Keep these tips in mind to protect yourself, save some time, and catch a deal that’s actually worth the third Google search.

Try, try, and try again.
Ignore those pesky pop-ups no matter how many times they try to get you. It could be malware or contain a malicious link. To close it without clicking, press Control +F4 (PC) or Command + W (Mac).

Look for the “S”.
The letter S at the end of the URL “HTTPS” is a symbol that you’re visiting a secure network. The same goes for the lock symbol in the address bar.

Thumb wars.
We find ourselves viciously scrolling on our cell phones like there’s no tomorrow (that “buy one, get one” offer might be worth it!). But, browsing on a mobile device makes it difficult to spot a scam since you may not notice a different URL. So, check it twice. And, look out for poor grammar – that’s a telltale sign.

Go big or go home.
Buying from a large retailer is safer. All of your hard-to-find items could be a simple click away on Amazon. But, if you prefer locally-owned businesses, buy from places that use PayPal so you have added buyer protection.

Fake news.
False ads lurk behind every social media platform, even if you follow legitimate brands. Before you click on an ad or call a customer service number, be sure it’s real content.

Special delivery.
Scammers are now sending emails pretending that FedEx or UPS is attempting to deliver a package to your home. Unless you’re already expecting a package and gave them your email, you can assume this one is a scam. Also beware of emails that say “shipping notification” or “out of stock” in the subject line. It’s a way scammers catch your attention to click on dangerous and fake email links.

Safe travels.
As tempting as a cheap one-way ticket to paradise sounds, it’s probably too good to be true. Scammers will lure you in with hot weather and great accommodations that lead to malware and the collection of your personal information online.

Buyers beware.
Criminals will do almost anything to get your information. They’ve got their eyes on the prize when you’re browsing for sales. When you’re buying online, it’s important to stay skeptical. Make sure your computer’s firewall is updated to protect your device. Assume links and emails are dangerous. And if an online bargain is unbeatable, think again and slowly back away from your online shopping cart.

Gift cards.
Thieves are finding new ways to gift themselves. They’re snatching numbers from gift cards on display in stores. Instead of stealing the physical card, they wait for it to be activated before they go shopping with the funds loaded on the card. Try buying an e-gift card to stay safe.

Now that you’re prepared to take on cyber crime, the only thing you have to worry about is finding the best deal!

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