Man with credit card holding shopping bags

Don't Let Online Scammers Ruin Your Holidays

As the holiday season swiftly approaches and more individuals are turning to do their shopping online this year, it’s important now more than ever to be vigilant of online scammers and those looking to steal your information.

In order to help you keep yourself and your information safer this season while shopping, here are a few easy tips to remember:

1. Use trusted sources. First, check out any links that you either receive from others, or that ask you to go to a secondary site for “the hottest new deal.” Lots of times, thieves can create practically identical copies of retailers’ websites specifically just to steal your information. Usually, however, a tell-tale sign of these being phony websites lies in the link itself. If the link looks suspicious or is “practically” the same, but a little different than the retailer’s actual website, this can be a red flag. These often can be sent to you through promotional emails or social media sites, so as a rule of thumb, if you are unfamiliar with the person or the platform sending you the link, it is best to do your research before purchasing anything. To avoid this problem, an easy solution is to go through the retailer’s website directly. 
2. Research. As mentioned above, research is an important part of scouting for deals around the holidays. Be cautious of deals that may seem too good to be true. Some may be the real deal but make sure to investigate before giving away your personal information online.
3. Be aware of “fast checkout.” With big holiday shopping days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday approaching, and more transactions happening online, thieves have more opportunities to scam or steal information from shoppers. Especially now, with online shopping being as easy as a “1-click buy” from practically any device. With this new feature making its debut across multiple popular retailers this holiday season, it can be tempting to go the “fast checkout” route. Although it saves the time of having to enter your card information for every purchase, this means it will be saving and storing your account information. The more you save your information across multiple platforms, the more you put yourself at risk of your information being stolen if hacked by cybercriminals.
4. Use a secure connection. When purchasing items online, it is also important to make sure the connection you are using is secure as well. One easy way you can do this is by making sure that you are using a secure Wi-Fi connection. This means either avoiding free public Wi-Fi, or utilizing a VPN to protect your connection while entering in personal information in public areas. Another helpful tip is to check your URL bar for a locked key which signifies that your browser is secure.
5. Think twice about rewards programs. As covered in our previous post you might want to reconsider signing up for store incentives and memberships. Around the holiday season especially, stores will offer discounts and deals when signing up for their customer reward programs. These offers may be alluring, but they are far from free. In turn for discounts and rewards, you are giving them your personal information which may put you at risk in the case of a breach.
6. Watch your accounts. Stay vigilant and keep on the lookout for any changes, unknown charges, or other suspicious activity on your accounts.
You’ve done all of this, now what?

Lastly,

Enjoy your holiday season. With IDSeal, you can give yourself the gift of peace of mind. Although you may not be able to stop someone from stealing your information, with IDSeal it’s not something you have to fix alone.