The Holiday season is upon us!
You know what that means? Family, fun, traveling and shopping!
With each passing year, online shopping is becoming more and more popular. Long gone are the days of standing in line at a toy store to get the hottest new item. Now, you can search for it online, add it to your cart, and boom! It is at your front door.
With the rise in online shopping popularity, there has also been a rise in online scams to try and take advantage of those who are buying online, espcially during the holiday season. Don’t be alarmed though, there are a few best practices you can follow when shopping online that will help keep you away from the scammers. Check them out below!
Verify Site Has HTTPS in URL
Avoid shopping on websites that do not have secure URLs. A good first step in making sure a website is safe to use is to ensure that their URL starts with “HTTPS” that shows that the hypertext transfer protocol is secure. This is not the only thing to check when shopping online, but it is an important step!
If a website only shows “HTTP” then it is missing some level of security. If you are looking to buy something, and in the payment information section it does not say “HTTPS” but only says “HTTP” in the URL do not buy from that site. When it comes to your payment information, all steps of caution should be taken.
Watch Out for Status or Order Scam Emails
A scam that has been making its rounds during the holiday season is an email scam that says something to the order of “X order has been shipped!” or “X order has been placed” and the email will provide a link to click to verify the purchase, or status update. Do not click these links. Often times scammers will imitate places like Amazon and send out a fake email as an attempt to get you to click on their link so that they can get you into their scam.
And hey, with all of the holiday shopping, it can be tough to keep track of the purchases you make, so if you get an email you think may be a scam, but you're not sure if you may have just lost track of what you ordered with all of the holiday shopping, don’t click the link, the first thing you should do is go to the real website that the email is saying they are from, and verify it that way. Never follow a link in a shady email, or an email you are unfamiliar with.
Only Use Trusted Sites
A lot of times, if a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. Especially online. If you do a generic google search for an item, often times you will find a ton of what you are looking for, for a great price…on a website you have never heard of before. For example, I was looking for a T-Shirt from a band that I enjoy listening to, and when I googled the band and the shirt of theirs that I wanted, I found a bunch of options, but none of them were from a source I recognized. I did not trust any of those sites, and instead I bought the shirt directly from a trusted source. Always be careful when looking for items online, and only buy from verified, and trusted sources.