Many consumers are shifting their holiday shopping online this year due to COVID-19 concerns, and it’s the perfect opportunity for the Grinch to steal holiday cheer. This is the season when hackers, scammers and online thieves are poised to steal the personal information of unsuspecting shoppers. A few simple precautions will keep the Grinch at bay and provide a safe online holiday shopping experience.
Here are some tips for safer holiday shopping:
- When shopping online, confirm the website is secure. To ensure the safest shopping experience online, be sure the link starts with “https.” The “s” stands for secure. Also look for a padlock symbol, which is usually found in the bar at the top of the screen next to the web address.
- Use your mouse to hover over web links and ensure they point to a legitimate website. Look for typos, repeated letters and other misspellings that can indicate a spoofed site. When in doubt, type the web address into the search bar.
- Pay close attention to the sender’s email address. The domain name should match the retailer’s legitimate website. A spoofed email address may look legitimate. Hover over the address to check for characters in the address that look correct but are different. For instance, a W may be represented with two Vs, as in [email protected], instead of [email protected].
- Don’t inadvertently give your credentials to fraudsters by logging in to view a coupon or special deal. Legitimate retailers won’t ask for this information.
- Avoid shopping on public Wi-Fi®. Fraudsters can connect to the Wi-Fi service and capture your account numbers and passwords. Buying items, checking your bank account and paying bills can be a risky business on public Wi-Fi.
The holidays should be a time of joy — not stress and frustration as you untangle a case of identity theft or financial fraud. Protect yourself from the Grinch by proactively safeguarding your personal information.