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How to avoid online holiday scams

Tis’ the season for online holiday shopping AND holiday scams! Be vigilant for any sketchy or unexpected calls, texts or email. Additionally, with so many of us working from home it’s important to keep our work and personal digital lives separate.  Here are some tips that may help you avoid holiday shopping scams.

  1. Choose carefully where you shop and make sure it’s a legitimate retailer. Don’t click on the email or text links for “amazing offers” as it may take you to a fake website. If you’re unsure, don’t use the link and either type a website address directly into the address bar or search for it and follow the search results.
  2. Use a secure payment platform, such as PayPal, Apple Pay or Google Pay. Using these platforms means the retailer doesn’t even see your payment details. Use a credit card when shopping on line, if you have one. Most major credit card providers protect online purchases. There are also services such as Privacy that provide virtual payment cards, allowing you to use a temporary card number for online payments but may not provide the same protection. Always check the terms and conditions before your sign up.
  3. Provide only enough detail to complete your purchase. Fill in the mandatory details which are usually marked with an asterisk (*) Be wary if it asks for security details, such as your mother’s maiden name, to complete the purchase.
  4. Watch your transactions carefully monitoring for fraudulent charges that may get buried among your holiday gifts.
  5. Keep your accounts secure by using unique and strong passwords for each account. Hackers would like nothing better than stealing one password and using it on all your accounts. Make sure that your important accounts (email, banking, social media, shopping, and payment, like PayPal) are protected by strong passwords that you don’t use anywhere else.
  6. Watch out for suspicious emails, calls and text messages. If something doesn’t feel right, delete it.
  7. Act quickly if things go wrong. If your credit or debit card has been used by someone else, let your bank know immediately so they can block it.