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Online Shopping: Holiday Season Safety Tips

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Thu, Dec 03, 2015 at 9:20AM

Happy holidays from all of us here at Vann Data! We know that you will likely be doing lots of shopping this season—both in stores and online.

While online shopping is a fantastic way to cross every gift off your list, it can also put you at risk for scams, malware and other problems. Fortunately, there are a few ways to stay safe and protect yourself while online this holiday season.

Shop only on trusted sites

Throughout the year, it’s always a good idea to visit and shop on sites you trust—and during the holiday season, even more so. Scammers are especially aware of your need to shop during the holidays and may try to trick you into entering your credit card number and other sensitive information on their fraudulent website. Know that this is a risk so you can avoid it! Always check and double check the URL of the sites you are visiting, and try to shop only on trusted, credible sites.

Be wary of holiday season scams

Unfortunately, scammers may take advantage of holiday shoppers’ generosity by posing as fake charities and asking for donations. They may even use phone calls or emails to pose as friends and family members asking for emergency money.

As always, never give money or personal information to anyone less than a trusted loved one or established charity—no matter how credible they may seem. If you’re not sure, you can always check with trusted sites like Charity Watch or Charity Navigator to check the validity and credibility of a certain nonprofit. This season, give where your donation will do the most— don’t let yourself fall victim to scam artists!

Do your online shopping and banking from home when possible

When possible, try to do your online shopping and banking from home. While we all love how our smartphones have made online shopping so easy and accessible, you do want to be wary of unsecure networks while you’re out and about. If you’re using a store or café’s Wi-Fi, for example, be sure that you are using their official network (and not an imposter’s network that’s trying pose as the real thing).

Monitor your credit cards

As always, be sure to monitor your credit card activity this holiday season. Because you are likely using your credit card more than normal, there’s a greater chance of you falling victim to theft and fraud. As a precaution, keep an eye out for mysterious charges. You may also choose to stick to one card throughout the season, if possible, to make keeping track even easier. While it may be hard to keep up with all of your purchases when made on several different cards, one consolidated “holiday shopping card” of your choice can make the security process a little more efficient.

The holidays should be about giving, with confidence. Don’t let potential scams get your spirits down! By following these simple safety and security tips, you will be able to enjoy peace of mind this season.

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