5 Online Shopping Security Tips for the Holidays

As winter weather sets in and the holiday season gets more and more hectic, online shopping has become a lifesaver for busy people trying to get all their shopping finished on time, and find the best deals possible.

Online shopping has never been easier, and frequently the best prices can be found online. Free delivery is a popular offer from online stores, and the convenience of 24 hour access is attracting more and more shoppers to holiday online shopping. Whether you’re an experienced online shopper or just starting to shop online, here are 5 online shopping security tips for the holidays.

  1. Make sure URL is https: A website address or URL begins http: the added ‘s’ in https means the site is secure, according to  Investigator Colin Bailey, Columbia Police Department in USAToday.
     
    https v http means that this website has been authenticated as a trusted secure shopping site – and not a fake “spam” site. Note: not all real websites have https in their URL, but before buying from a site that is not https take precautions to verify that this is a real, legitimate website.
  2. Use a payment method that gives you some recourse: Credit cards and PayPal offer protections against fraud, advices security expert Larry Magid in The Huffington Post. Credit cards and PayPal offer fraud and identity theft protections not typically found in debit cards, so carefully choose your payment method for online shopping. While both credit and debit cards may offer the same consumer liability protection, with debit cards your money is taken from your account when you make a transaction, while credit card purchases do not immediately come out of your bank account.
  3. Read twice before you ‘Buy’: Carefully read the full description of your purchase to make sure you are actually purchasing what you think you’re buying. Fraud is often in the details:
    1. all the parts are included
    2. the full warranty is offered
    3. when will your purchase be delivered
    4. what are shipping and delivery costs
  4. Comparison shop: Just like when you’re shopping at the mall, visit different websites to find the best offer. You’re not just shopping for the best price: when you online comparison shop you are also comparing the website, which may alert you to security issues:
    1. are words obviously misspelled?
    2. is the deal too good to be true?
    3. are there phone numbers and email addresses to contact the merchant if there is a problem?
  5. Check the site and product reviews: Before shopping online at a new website take the extra step to google that company’s name and check for site and product reviews. If there are a majority of negative reviews or if the positive reviews seem artificial or “canned” take the warning and look for another site.

By following these simple, practical online shopping security tips you can make your holiday online shopping easy, safe and save you some money!

 

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