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How to Safely Shop Online This Holiday Season

As stores become more and more crowded over the holidays, online shopping is an increasingly more attractive way to shop. You can shop for gifts from the comfort of your home or office and have them delivered to your front door within days.  

As simple as it seems, online shopping doesn’t come without its risks. Every day, online shoppers fall victim to scams, fake websites or other dangerous traps seeking your money or identity.   

Here are several ways the Better Business Bureau (BBB) says will help keep you safe when shopping online:

  • Protect your computer by installing the most recent updates for spam filters, anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall security;
  • Shop on trustworthy sites, whether you’re using a computer or a phone. Check the BBB’s website for the seller’s reputation and record for customer satisfaction;
  • Take the time to read the retailer’s online privacy policy and understand what personal information is being requested and how it will be used. If one isn’t posted, it may be a red flag that your personal information may be sold or used without your permission;
  • Confirm your online purchase is secure—Before paying, look in the address box for an “s” in the https:// (not just http://), and check your browser window for the “lock” icon. If in doubt, right click anywhere on the web page and select “properties.” This will let you see the URL and whether it’s encrypted;
  • Pay for your online purchases with a credit card, not a debit card. Federal law allows you to dispute unauthorized charges;
  • If PayPal is an option for the sites you shop on, use it. It protects you from having to enter your credit card number and other payment information on the shopping site;
  • Keep documentation of your online purchase. Save the confirmation page, confirmation number or confirmation email; and
  • Don’t wait for credit card statements to come in the mail. Check your credit card statements online regularly. Call the credit card company if something seems suspicious.

Even following these practices won’t ensure complete safety and anonymity while shopping online. Beware of spam emails by not clicking on them or responding. Go to retailer websites directly rather than clicking on email links. Do not provide financial or personal information by replying to emails asking for such information.

Stay tuned for more tips from Lang Insurance on cybersecurity, financial safety and other ways to stay protected as you navigate this connected world!