10 Tips For Safe Online Shopping

Online shopper

10 Tips For Safe Online Shopping

It’s no secret that online shopping has made finding the perfect Christmas gift a lot more convenient. The selection is ginormous, and you can shop around to find the best deals. But before you take off on your next holiday shopping spree, make sure you’re not leaving yourself at risk.

Here are ten tips to keep you safe while shopping online:

  1. Only shop reputable, secure sites. That ad on Facebook might catch your attention, but before you checkout, make sure you verify that the site you are on is legitimate and secure. The easiest way to tell if a site is secure is by looking for the ‘s’ in ‘https’ at the beginning of the web address. If the site doesn’t include the ‘s,’ it is not an encrypted site and your personal data, including your card number, will not be secure. You should also look up reviews for new retail sites before inputting your payment information. Some sites may be set up to appear legitimate, but once you look at a review or two, you’ll find the site is just a scammer trying to take your money.
  2. Be wary of deals that sound too good to be true. If you see an ad for a deal that seems too good to be true, check the legitimacy of the retailer before getting too excited. You can also compare prices on different sites if the price seems significantly lower than it should be. If you receive a notification that you won a prize, remember – in legitimate giveaways, you never have to pay to receive your prize.
  3. Avoid clicking links. In addition to sneaky email scams, fraudsters try to trick you with eye-catching ads online too. If you see something in an email or Facebook ad that you want to check out, don’t click the link. Instead, open your web browser and go to the retailer’s website directly. This way you know you are shopping the legitimate site and not on a spoofed website.
  4. Abandon transactions when you are asked to use strange ways to pay for products. Many scammers request that you send them pre-loaded gift cards, Crypto or funds through payment apps in return for a product or service. If you get a request like this, recognize it as a red flag, and avoid any further contact with that seller.
  5. Never release more information than necessary. Most websites you shop on will ask for your personal information to complete your purchase. Give them only the information that is required. If an information field says it is optional, skip it. Legitimate shopping sites will NEVER ask for Social Security numbers when you are checking out.
  6. Avoid shopping when connected to public WiFi or a hotspot. Free hotspots and public WiFi aren’t secured and allow hackers easy access to your personal information. Don’t log into your bank account or complete any transactions while connected to public networks – and make sure you are logged out of these sites before you connect to free internet.
  7. Pay cardless or contactless wherever possible. Digital Wallets use a 1-time authorization code when sending your information to be processed. You’ll have an easy and secure checkout process, and your personal information will stay safe in your wallet.
  8. Do not respond to pop-up ads. While pop-up ads are a popular way for retailers to get their best deals in front of you, they also give scammers a perfect place to confuse online shoppers into falling victim to phishing scams. Make sure you have an ad-blocker installed on your computer especially when you are on unfamiliar or untrusted websites.
  9. Don’t save your information in online accounts. Having to input your billing and shipping address and card information every time you make a purchase might sound like a hassle, but any personal information you save on any online account could be stolen by hackers if that company falls victim to a data breach.
  10. Check your bank account and credit card statement regularly. Keep a close tab on your bank account and credit card statements. Checking regularly will ensure you catch any unauthorized transactions as soon as possible so you can dispute the charge and promptly take action.

If you plan to use your First State Visa® debit card to make purchases, Card Central in our First State Mobile Banking App allows you to set alerts and view detailed merchant information for all transactions made with your card. With Card Central, you’ll catch unauthorized transactions in real-time. Gain peace of mind and get started today.