Holiday Online Shopping Scams: 6 Ways to Protect Yourself

Holiday Online Shopping Scams: 6 Ways to Protect Yourself
In 2016, cybercriminals stole 15.4 million Americans through online shopping scams. Here is a holiday online shopping checklist to assure safety when shopping online as Black Friday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas season is fast approaching.
Photo : Jade Gao/ Getty Images

Almost anything can be purchased online, from clothes to appliances to groceries, and many of us are doing so, especially since Black Friday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas season is fast approaching.

In reality, 95% of Americans do their holiday shopping online at least once a year.

As we continue to move in this direction, the number of cases of fraud and/or identity theft will rise.

Cybercriminals stole from 15.4 million Americans in 2016 from online shopping scams, up to 16% from 2015. They stole a total of $16 billion, or more than $1,000 per victim.

To avoid being a victim of fraud or theft, keep these tips in mind the next time buyers decide to shop online.

Online Shopping Scams: Too Good To Be True Offers

If an offer appears to be too good to be true, it almost certainly is.

Black Friday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are fast approaching, and multiple deals, offers, and discounts are on the rise.

It's most likely a fraud if you find an item on a website like Amazon and the price has reduced by $200.

Alternatively, if someone comes across an offer that states, "Like our Facebook page and we'll give you a free iPhone®!" It's nearly always such a deception for a scam.

Online Shopping Scams: Sketchy and Unofficial Websites

As recommended by Integrity Insurance, only shop on safe websites.

The URL of a secure website should begin with "https" rather than "http," allowing you to conduct a transaction and enter your personal and credit card information without fear of being phished.

Online Shopping Scams: Redirecting Links

Never open a promotional email's links or photos.

This one is a little more difficult. Let's imagine you get an email from your favorite online retailer giving a 50% discount on the entire site.

However, it's recommended to go straight to their web browser and type in their website URL before clicking on that image or link in the email. Users can be sure they're on their secure site this way.

Numerous hackers employ phishing scams to entice customers and collect their information by creating bogus emails and websites. They can often imitate a retailer's website so convincingly that the consumer is unaware until it's too late.

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Online Shopping Scams: Credit Card Hacking

During holiday online shopping, it is highly recommended by experts to keep track of credit card statements and activities.

Be proactive in the overall approach. Every day, users must check their credit card activities and thoroughly review their statements.

Request to be notified when your total purchases in a billing cycle exceed a specified amount, such as $500. Users will be notified if a hacker uses their card for several little transactions rather than one large purchase this way.

Online Shopping Scams: Usage of Username and Password

As recommended by Central Bank, for each account, users have, it is advisable to create a unique username and password.

Users can usually create an account on most online retailers' websites. This allows them to store the users' personal information as well as their payment card number in their system.

Online Shopping Scams: Hacking Through Public WiFi

When purchasing online, never utilize free Wi-Fi in public places.

Hackers adore free Wi-Fi because it makes it simple for them to gain access to your device and steal personal data. Your data is normally not encrypted when you use public Wi-Fi.

Furthermore, hackers can construct bogus Wi-Fi networks, giving them complete access to your device as soon as you connect to their password-free network.


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