Whether it’s on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or any other day, many people can’t resist a good sale. But your excitement for holiday bargains doesn’t hold a gift candle to that of criminals trying to get their hands on your sensitive consumer information.
Considering all the recent security breaches at popular retailers, safe online shopping is more important now than ever before, which is why you should be extra careful about how and where you use personal information like credit card numbers and PINs. There are many ways you can reduce your chances of becoming a victim of online theft this holiday season.
What holiday shopping safety tips can help protect you from online thieves?
Only shop on websites with an “https://” prefix. Holiday shopping on websites that include the “s” in their web address means you’re engaging in secure online shopping. The information exchanged between you and the website is encrypted and more difficult for hackers to steal.
Make purchases only on secure Wi-Fi connections. An unsecure Wi-Fi connection is a playground for identity theft hackers. Only shop and use your information on secure, password-protected networks.
When punching in card numbers, be aware of your surroundings. When using a debit card at a retailer that requires a PIN, process your transaction as credit instead to avoid using the PIN or slightly cover the keypad while typing so others can’t see the number. Typing openly is a common way for your information to be stolen while holiday shopping.
Use only your credit card for purchases. Credit cards offer greater security against fraud than debit cards. When unauthorized purchases occur on your credit card, the funds in your bank account are not directly compromised, and you are rarely held liable for the fraudulent activity.
Don’t click on suspicious email links. Your email will probably be bombarded with holiday discounts and other eye-catching deals. Avoid clicking on emails from unfamiliar senders as they may be Black Friday or Cyber Monday scams carrying viruses that affect the security of your computer.
Actively protect your identity. To be extra safe, sign up for a credit monitoring service that comes with fraud or data alerts so you’ll know right away if someone tries to illegally use your information. Taking action immediately against identity theft will increase your chances of preventing damage to your credit and unauthorized use of your social security number to fraudulently claim your tax refund.
Shop wisely and follow these holiday shopping safety tips this season so you can enjoy all the discounts that Black Friday and Cyber Monday bring. And be sure to save receipts of gifts you purchase as charity donations to share later with your tax adviser; they could be tax deductible. Happy shopping!
For more helpful information, contact Liberty Tax® directly at 1-877-at-Liberty, or visit a conveniently located Liberty Tax® office near you. For real-time updates, follow Liberty Tax® on Facebook and Twitter.