Top 5 Tips for Secure Holiday Shopping

Nov 17, 2021 8:16:00 AM |


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The holiday season is once again upon us. While there has been much discussion of supply shortages, shipping delays, and inflation, we are here to keep cybersecurity top of mind as you seek out the perfect presents for your loved ones this season.

According to the FBI, thousands of Americans fall victim to holiday scams every year, robbing individuals of money and personal information. The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) reported almost $129,000 in credit card fraud losses and approximately $265,000 in non-payment/non-delivery losses in 2020. The following tips will help you stay safe while checking off all the gifts on your list:



Think Before You Click

This time of year is full of retail sales and incomparable deals – which means your email box is likely flooded with promotions from your favorite retailers. We encourage you to go directly to the retailer’s website instead of clicking links within an email. Be wary of any requests for account information: as a rule of thumb, do not share your personal or financial information via email with anyone and avoid suspicious links.


Do Not Use Public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi is a cyber criminal’s best friend and your worst enemy. It takes little technical skill for a cyber criminal to intercept your web traffic on a public Wi-Fi network, including your passwords, email addresses, and browsing history. Because you are often required to share personal information when shopping online, you risk a cyber criminal compromising your credentials, credit card information, and more by shopping online via public Wi-Fi.


Pay with A Credit Card, Not a Debit Card

The National Cybersecurity Alliance says that using credit cards is much safer than using debit cards when shopping online. Credit card companies are required by law to limit a user’s liability for fraudulent charges, providing greater consumer protection. If you incur fraudulent credit charges, you are not required to pay anything while the credit card company investigates, and most offer $0 liability for fraudulent charges. Debit cards, however, may not have the same level of protection. The fraudulent charges will also draw directly from your bank account and could leave you with insufficient funds. If you suspect you are a victim of fraud, contact your credit card company or bank as soon as possible.


Shop with Trusted Retailers

Fraudsters are good at setting up fake e-commerce sites, particularly during the holiday season. It’s best to shop with trusted, well-known retailers to avoid a scam. If you are exploring a new retailer, do your research prior to purchasing by reading reviews to hear what others say about the merchant and checking sites like the Better Business Bureau.


Limit the Information You Provide

Be alert to the kinds of information being collected to complete your transaction and only provide information as required. You only need to fill out required fields at checkout and you should not save your payment information in your profile. If the account autosaves it, go in after the purchase and delete the stored payment details. If the merchant is requesting more data than you feel comfortable sharing, cancel the transaction.