• Randy Sklar

5 Tips for Secure Online Shopping

1. Only buy from websites and mobile apps you already know and trust. Skip the ads on social media or emails claiming to offer fantastic deals. Fraudsters take advantage of social media and email hoping you’ll click and give them access to your credit card number. And when you are making purchases online, look for “https://” in the web address. The “s” in https:// is critical and indicates a website is secure. If you don’t see an “s,” do not share any personal or payment information with that website.

2. Don’t click promotional links in emails. Avoid links in emails or online ads, even if they look like they come from a trusted source. Scammers love to impersonate the biggest names in web shopping and send out fake emails hoping you click a link, which may end up installing malware on your device. Or you may be directed to a fake website asking for your login credentials. Enter that the information, and the next thing you know, someone is making fraudulent purchases on your account.

3. Watch out for fake delivery notification emails or text messages. If you need to track a package, use the tracking link on the order history page on the website you ordered the item from. Should you receive a delivery notification, but no delivery is expected, visit the delivery service’s website directly (don’t click any links!) and enter the tracking number from the email into the official tracking form. This will verify the legitimacy of the tracking information.

4. Be wary of shopping and deal apps. Mobile app stores are overflowing with scam apps. Verify the integrity of any shopping app — or any app — before you hit the download button. So many apps are notorious for collecting your personal data and sending it to nameless developers who may not have your best interests in mind. They simply want to sell your personal information to make a quick buck.

5. Monitor your bank and credit card activity every day. When you can identify suspicious activity on your account early, you have more options. For one, you can turn to your financial institutions, and they can put a stop to fraudulent transactions. Plus, they can lock down affected accounts and help you get your money back.