Holiday Shopping Safety Tips

The holidays shopping season is now in full gear. That means gift giving has probably been on your mind. The National Retail Federation expects online sales in November and December to increase by 7 to 10 percent, reaching $117 billion. With so much shopping online, how do you keep your personal and financial information safe? This post will help you answer that question.

Christmas Tree


8 Holiday Shopping Safety Tips

  1. Shop On Secure Sites
    One of your top priorities while shopping online is making sure the websites you enter your credit card information into are secure and encrypted. You can tell a site is secure by looking at the URL. Check to ensure the URL starts with an https://, not just http://. In addition, web browsers display a padlock icon before the URL to indicate a secure site.
  2. Don’t Shop On Public Wi-Fi
    It may be convenient to shop while you’re stuck at the airport, at a coffee shop, or even at your favorite restaurant; however, this isn’t a good idea. Public Wi-Fi is a hot spot for crooks to hack your devices and obtain your credit card and bank account information.
  3. Use Safe Payment Options
    Make sure if you decide to use a payment service, you pick a safe one. Services such as PayPal and Visa Checkout are great sources to utilize for online purchases this holiday season. Visa Checkout is now at Launch FCU, allowing you to complete purchases using a single sign-on. If you haven’t yet registered your Launch FCU credit and debit cards for Visa Checkout, you can do so here.
  4. Think Twice About Clicking Email Links
    Be highly skeptical of links that are sent to you from unsolicited parties, or links on social media sites. These links could be phishing schemes, where shoppers who click through are led to a false site developed to steal their information. Always hover over a URL before clicking on it. In most instances, it is much safer to enter the URL into your browser yourself or conduct a Google search in order to get to the site.
  5. Keep A Clean Device
    Ensure all of the devices you use for online shopping, including phones and tablets, have up-to-date software including security software, the most updated operating system, and updated versions of programs and apps.
  6. Too Good To Be True?
    Remember, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. For instance, if you see an ad offering the latest iPad Pro for $99, you can assume it is a scam. Be highly skeptical of outlandish deals, and approach them with high scrutiny.
  7. Keep A Record Of Your Purchases
    Save records of your online transactions, including the product descriptions, prices, online receipts, terms of the sales, and copies of email conversations with the seller or sales associate. Keep a close eye on bank and credit card statements during the holiday season to make sure there are not any unauthorized charges, even if you do not conduct online shopping.
  8. Pump Up Your Password Protection
    Make sure each of your online accounts has a different password, that way if one of your accounts gets compromised they all won’t be compromised. In addition, longer passwords reduce the chances of a hacker making a correct guess.

Interesting Online Shopping Facts

  • PASSWORD and 123456 are two of the most commonly used passwords.
  • Yahoo!, Google, Facebook, and Amazon are top targets of malicious cybercriminals.
  • 200,000 new PC malware threats are detected daily.
  • Global credit, debit, and prepaid card fraud losses reached $11.27 billion in 2013, up 14.6% over 2011.
  • One in five consumers uses the same password for every account, putting them at extreme risk for multi-account takeover.

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