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Safety Guide for Online Shopping

Shopping online is a convenient way to get the products and services that you need. With Thanksgiving and Christmas quickly approaching and Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping on the horizon, we have compiled a list of tips to help make shopping online more secure for our customers.

* * NEVER send money or give your debit/credit card information to someone you

do not know. * *

Many scammers use catfishing, social media bots and other scams to get you to send money or provide your debit or credit card information to them. Never send money or information to someone you do not know.

Know your internet connection

While online shopping at your favorite coffee shop is convenient, it is not secure. The use of public WIFI makes it easier for hackers to spy on your online activity and allows them to steal your information. Instead, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or your phone as a hotspot. Make sure you have Anti viral/malware protection on your devices.

Use a trusted site or known merchant

Only buy from reputable websites. If you do not know the merchant, the item you purchase may not be the quality you expect, or the merchant may not respond if there are issues with the product. Sometimes some merchants have shipping issues or you never receive the product. Sites like Instagram, Facebook, Craig's List, have a lot of freelancers who are looking to make a few sales for the holidays and may not know how to handle sales professionally.

Check site security before you buy

Shop on secure websites. Look for a lock icon in the browser bar near the URL to verify that the site uses secure sockets layer (SSL) encryption. Another example of what to look for is the URL should start with “https” rather than just “http.”

Other tips include:

• Carefully review the web address to ensure the domain name is correct.

• Watch for poor grammar and spelling on the website.

• You can use Google’s Safe Browsing Transparency Report ( to type in a website address and get information on the site’s legitimacy.

• If you download a shopping app, make sure it is from a reputable app store like the Google PlayStore or the Apple App Store.

Use the IDShield Mobile App to monitor your

credit cards and more.

Don’t fall for scams

  • Often, scammers attempt to lure you in with emails or texts offering amazing deals or claiming there has been a problem during the delivery process of a package. If you receive an offer via email, text or social media, go directly to the merchant’s website to see if the offer is legitimate.

  • Delete suspicious messages from unfamiliar senders and don’t open attachments or click on links in these messages because they could infect your devices with viruses or other malware.

  • If the seller contacts you through email and not through the secure channel communication through their website or app, this could be a red flag.

  • Be careful of charity SCAMS. This is the time of year where scammers like to tug on heart strings to ask for donations. Always look up an organization on the Secretary of State where the charity is located. You can also check if the organization is a recognized non profit on the IRS website.

Read the shipping terms

  • Be cautious of large shipping fees or merchants who do not ship an item within two weeks of the order date.

  • Find out whether or not the merchant provides tracking information and if they will let you know when the item ships.

  • After you make an online purchase, track your package to make sure it is headed your way.

Use a protected method of payment

Use a credit card, PayPal, PayPal Card, prepaid cards, etc when shopping online. Do not use your debit card or banking information as these do not have the same security protections in place for you should a problem arise. Check out this list on how to step up your game with online privacy.

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