Hunt for Good Deals, But Don’t Become the Hunted!
Between admiring fall colors, carving pumpkins, and planning Thanksgiving meals, you may not even realize it, but the holiday season is sneaking up on you. Soon it will be time to create that long shopping list for decking up your home, and gifting to family and friends. Whether you shop online due to lack of time or to avoid frantic crowds at the malls, this holiday season, stay safe while making purchases online. Know the risks involved, and steer clear of scams and hacks that wear masks of irresistibly attractive deals.
Tips for a Safe Online Holiday Shopping Jaunt
The fact is, online shopping is an irresistible option, and an increasing number of shoppers are turning to online, instead of offline purchases. After all, you get to enjoy the comforts of your home, while scouring websites, comparing deals, and loading up the cart at your leisure. This is more convenient than navigating your way through heavy traffic, bustling crowds, and long distances between your preferred stores at the malls.
However, online shopping does have its disadvantages. According to a study on holiday shopping, 27% consumers said that they became victims of identity theft while making online purchases during the holiday season. An additional 16% said that they were scammed on Cyber Monday, the most popular day of the year for online shopping.
With the right precautions, you can make your online shopping experience safe and enjoyable. Here are some tips to ensure that scammers and fraudsters do not derail your joyous holiday shopping journey:
- Shop on Trusted Sites: As far as possible, shop on sites that you have used before. Fake companies advertise great deals during the holiday season, only to steal your personal and credit card information, without any intent of delivering your purchase.
- Avoid Shopping on Small Screen Devices: Cybercriminals are experts at replicating the original branding of trusted brands with a slightly misspelt URL or a misaligned logo. With shorter fields and less display space on the mobile phone, you may not be able to spot a scam. Preferably, use a larger screen device, such as a laptop or desktop while shopping online.
- Beware of Too-Good-to-be-True Deals: If something looks overly attractive, it may be a good idea to find out more before you click on the ‘buy’ button. Rock bottom prices and huge discounts are red flags, especially if the price of the same item is different on other websites. Check and compare, and use abundant caution before celebrating an over-the-top bargain.
- Don’t be a Victim of Charity Scams: Being a ‘season of giving’, an appeal for a righteous cause may quickly tug at your heartstrings. However, fraudsters take advantage of this sentiment. Before you donate any money, make sure that it is a genuine website, a registered charity, and an authentic cause.
- Practice Online Hygiene: In addition to watching out for unsecure or fake URLs, ensure that you follow the basic rules of online hygiene:
- Use strong passwords. Avoid password replication across multiple website logins.
- Pay using credit cards, as they give you better liability protection against unauthorized transactions.
- Do not click on email attachments from unknown or suspicious senders.
- Be careful while parting with your personal or credit card information. Avoid filling up contest forms or clicking on pop-up ads.
- Use a secure internet connection while browsing sites or making payments. If possible, avoid public Wi-Fi during online holiday shopping.
Besides taking all the necessary precautions, monitor your bank accounts and credit card statements at regular intervals. Once you receive your orders, rip off the labels that contain your personal information, and shred them before tossing the packaging in your recycle bins. Do not forget to shred the junk mail, greeting card envelopes, and other unwanted bills or receipts that contain your personal or financial information.
Protect your personal, as well as business records from falling into the hands of fraudsters and scammers. Ensure secure data destruction through a professional NAID AAA Certified company, such as TITAN Mobile Shredding. We offer an extensive range of services, including annual bulk purges, routine on-site shredding,residential shredding, and destruction of hard drives.
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