Shopping Online During the Holiday Season
Before you click or tap to buy that "must have" item on your holiday list, check out these online safety tips below:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.