Watch Your Clicks

More people than ever are going to be shopping online this winter holiday season. We’re here to make sure your “shopping trips” are both safe and successful.

Quick Tips to Help You have a Safer and Successful Online Shopping Experience

If you’re like most Americans, you’re choosing to do a large chunk of your holiday shopping online this year. We get it, there’s little that can beat the satisfaction of crossing gifts for friends and family off your list by shopping from the comfort of your couch. Here are some tips to make sure that your online shopping experience this holiday season is both safe and successful:

1. Look for the lock.

You should never input any credit card information on websites that are not encrypted for your protection. Online storefronts that aren’t encrypted (hint: whose URLs don’t begin with https) are far for vulnerable to outside breaches, which can lead to cyber criminals stealing your personal and payment information.

Nowadays, most browsers will have a lock icon before the web address to make it easier to identify which websites it’s safe to buy from. It makes it simple: no lock, no purchase.

2. Stick with the well-known sites.

It has never been easier to open up an online storefront than it is today. With just a few clicks, anyone can sell anything.

To help limit the chance of you getting scammed, we recommend you stick to shopping at the sites that you know and love (and more importantly, trust). Instead of using unknown websites for one-off gifts, consider using warehouse retailers like Amazon and Walmart, who seem to carry just about anything you can think of in their inventories.

3. Watch out for deals that seem too good to be true.

The winter holiday season is one of cyber criminals’ favorite times of year. Everyone’s more likely to see an increase in ads and emails that contain “deals” that seem too good to be true. Well, there’s a good chance they probably are.

A good rule of thumb to help protect you from phishing scams is to only click on links from retailers that you know and trust. A 65-inch 4K TV for $69.99 might seem like the deal of a lifetime but let’s be realistic here, that would never happen. Help protect your data by being cautious of what links you click.

4. Be mindful of public Wi-Fi.

Sometimes the best time to shop is right now — whether you’re at home, at the coffee shop, or the airport. When using public Wi-Fi networks, be mindful that they are more likely to be “monitored” by cyber criminals who are looking to snag your credit card information and other personal data.

Experts recommend using a VPN on any device that you online shop with, to help add another layer of security to your holiday shopping experience.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.