This Christmas season, I’ll be doing my gift shopping from the comfort of my couch. Online shopping has made finding the perfect gifts for loved ones so easy. And with all the public health uncertainty, for some, online retail is the only way they feel comfortable doing shopping of any kind. Sadly, while 54% of Americans prefer to shop online, most are unaware of the potential dangers they can encounter.
Here are a few primary risks that everyone should keep in mind while enjoying online retail therapy.
Identity Theft. The most common risk is identity theft. Scammers will try to steal your personal information and use it to make their own purchases. One of the ways that this can be done is through phishing. Email phishers will create fake messages that look like emails from your bank, Amazon account, subscription service, etc., asking for your personal information to fix a nonexistent problem with the account. Other phishing emails could tell you that you’ve won a prize or entice you with monetary benefits in order to trick you into entering your details.
Credit Card Fraud. Another big risk that you take when shopping online is credit card fraud. This is usually done by scam artists intercepting your online shopping right before you are set to pay. They can redirect you to another platform that looks similar to the actual company’s website. With no knowledge of any wrongdoing, you enter your credit card information, and then it is stolen and used for their personal gain.
Adware and Malware. We’ve all been bombarded by a random flurry of ads before. Some can be very appealing! However, upon clicking these ads you may be prompted to enter your personal information. This gives criminals easy access to your accounts and could result in great loss.
Protecting Yourself While Online Shopping
It’s not realistic to stop online shopping altogether– it’s a regular part of modern-day life. Therefore, it is important for you to play your part and ensure you do not fall victim to these traps. Carnegie Mellon University published an article that lists a few different practices you can implement to stay safe from online shopping threats.
Protect Personal Data. You never want to send out any pertinent information via email. And there will never be a situation in which online shopping requires you to submit your Social Security Number. Always check that the website begins with “https” before entering any information. That signifies that it is a secure site.
Buy From Trusted Vendors. When shopping, make sure you are purchasing from trusted vendors. Be cautious when shopping from social media sites. If possible, try to stick to consumer sites that you have previously purchased from.
Shop With a Credit Card. Try to do most of your online shopping with a credit card. This is mostly because if a credit card were to be compromised, your personal funds would not be touched. On the other hand, if someone were to get access to your debit accounts, any fraudulent activity would immediately be reflected in your bank account and your funds would be affected.
Set Up Account Alerts. For both credit and debit cards, you can set up alerts that notify you every time there is a large purchase made with your card. These alerts along with checking your bank account regularly will guarantee you catch any suspicious activity.
If you are partaking in online shopping this holiday season, make sure you are protecting yourself and your assets.
We hope that this information on online shopping is useful to you.
Empower Brokerage is dedicated to helping you make informed decisions about your health and finances. Whether it’s through webinar training, one-on-one calls, seminars, or marketing plans, we want you to be successful!
Give us a call at 888-539-1633 or leave a comment below if you have any questions.
Kayla is a graduate of Texas A&M University and joined the marketing team at Empower Brokerage in early 2021. She creates content for the company websites and assists with various marketing campaigns. LinkedIn Profile