According to the National Retail Federation, 36 percent of consumers say they plan to shop online on Cyber Monday, up from the 34 percent in 2015. But as more consumers turn to the internet to do their shopping, so do the fraudsters with their scams. What’s an online shopper to do?
Some people like to shop online because of the convenience and others like the exclusive sales available only on the web. Whatever your reason, it’s important to take steps to protect yourself when shopping online.
“While millions of credit and debit card transactions are conducted safely every day, it’s important that consumers are aware of the potential for holiday scams,” said Bruce Whitehurst, President & CEO, Virginia Bankers Association. They offer the following tips:
- If you’re not sure, don’t share: Anyone can set up a website these days so be sure you’re familiar with the retailer’s site before you give them any of your financial information.
- Shop securely: When you are at the checkout screen, verify that the web address begins with https. Also, check to see if a tiny locked padlock symbol appears on the page.
- Know the terms of your purchase: Is the product returnable and if so, who pays the shipping fees? How long will the product take to ship? What does shipping cost? Read the fine print. If it’s not clear or you don’t agree, make the purchase elsewhere.
- Print and save: Be sure to print and save the transaction receipt, the order number, a customer service phone number, and any other information you can just in case there’s a problem with your order.
- TMI: Don’t divulge too much information to anyone on the internet. If a website is asking for your bank account number, social security number or driver’s license number, don’t share it.
- Know your rights: If you suspect you are a victim of fraud, you can contact the Federal Trade Commission at: www.ftc.gov/complaint. You can also contact the Virginia Attorney General at: http://www.oag.state.va.us/. Be sure to report it to the Better Business Bureau, too.
Use online and mobile banking to keep an eye on your transactions, especially during the holidays. Nothing says “Scrooge” like a compromised account.