Shopping Online During the Holiday Season

According to MarketLive, an e-commerce software and solutions provider, online shoppers in the U.S. are projected to spend more than $54 billion this holiday season, nearly a 17 percent increase over the $47 billion spent last year. The increase in online shopping coincides with an increase in mobile device use, and more shoppers using special holiday smartphone apps to find the best deals.

Before you click or tap to buy that "must have" item on your holiday list, check out these online safety tips below:
  1. Secure your mobile device and computer. Be sure to keep the operating system and application software updated/patched on all of your computers and mobile devices.

  2. Password protect your mobile device and computer. If you need to create an account with the merchant, be sure to use a strong password. Use at least eight characters, with numbers, special characters, and upper and lower case letters.

  3. Know and trust the online shopping merchants. Limit online shopping to trusted merchants. If you have questions about a merchant, check with the Better Business Bureau or the Federal Trade Commission.

  4. Look for “https” when making an online purchase. The "s" in “https” stands for "secure” and indicates that communication with the webpage is encrypted. If you submit your credit card information through an organization's website, be sure to look for indicators that the site is secure.

  5. Do not respond to pop-ups. When a window pops up promising you cash or gift cards for answering a question or taking a survey, close it by pressing Control + F4 for Windows and Command + W for Macs.

  6. Avoid scams and fraud. Don’t ever give your financial information or personal information over e-mail or text. Information on current scams can be found on the website of the Internet Crime Complaint Center, a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National White Collar Crime Center.

  7. Do not use public computers or public wireless for online shopping. Public computers may contain malicious software that steals credit card information when orders are placed. Additionally, criminals may be intercepting traffic on public wireless networks to steal credit card numbers and other confidential information.

  8. Pay by credit card, not debit card. The safest way to shop on the Internet is to pay with a credit card rather than debit card.

  9. Print online transactions. Print or save records of online transactions, including the product description and price, the online receipt, and the e-mails you send and receive from the seller. Carefully review your credit card statements and contact your credit card company immediately if there are unauthorized charges.

  10. Review privacy policies. Know what information the merchant is collecting about you, how it will be stored, how it will be used, and if it will be shared with others.

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