Shopping for Cyber Monday bargains online is easy, convenient and potentially dangerous. Identity thieves, scams and hackers may be lurking behind certain links, but a wise and wary consumer can protect against such hazards.
TUTORIAL: Credit And Debt Management: Repairing Credit
Here are 12 tips to help you stay safe and secure when shopping online on the Monday after Thanksgiving, the biggest online shopping day of the year.
Keep it Secret
Do not give out any financial information to an online retailer. Keep PINs, passwords, Social Security numbers and other financial information secret. Retailers do not need that information.
Check Out the Seller
Make sure that the online retailer, you intend to deal with, has a good reputation. See if the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has any complaints registered against the retailer. (For additional reading, check out: The Better Business Bureau's Tool Belt For Saving Cash.)
Look for These Icons
An icon on a retailer's website showing an unbroken padlock or key indicates a firewall protection, and encryption software. If you see these icons, the site is likely secure, and your personal and credit card information should be safe.
Keep Your PIN Number Strictly Private
Your family, friends and colleagues do not need to know that number. When entering your PIN number for a computer transaction, conceal it from the people – if any who may be standing behind you.
Make Sure You've Got Protective Software
Make sure you've got a reliable firewall, anti-virus or anti-phishing software installed in your computer. These relatively inexpensive security programs protect against a variety of online hazards.
If In Doubt, Don't Shop on a Suspicious Site
Many scammers have gone to great lengths to create fancy, colorful websites that seem reputable, but are really engineered to get your personal information and use it illegally.
If They Ask, Don't Tell
No legitimate retailer needs to know your social security number. If you're required to enter your social security number, to complete a purchase transaction, odds are you're being scammed. Don't give out your number, and report the site to your BBB, and to the Attorney General's office of your state, or to the Consumer Fraud Division, if there is one in your state.
Look for the SSL Logo
When encountering unfamiliar retailers, or websites, search for the SSL logo on the bottom of the page. The SSL logo represents a standard security technology, which protects transactions and customer data via an encrypted link connecting a web server and a browser. The SSL certificate is required before establishing.
Old Advice, but Good Advice
If an online deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Exceptionally good discounts and bargains are often advertised by scammers as a means of getting credit card information. So, while an advertised bargain seems irresistible, there may be a much bigger price to eventually pay in credit card fraud.
Keep a Watchful Eye on Your Credit Card Statements
When your bank statements and credit card bills come in, check them carefully to make sure you've made all the purchases and transactions listed. Notify your bank or credit card issuer immediately if you notice indications of fraud.
Be Careful on Your Smart Phone
Online shopping by using a smart phone, or cell phone, can also be dangerous. Don't repeat your PIN number, social security number or credit card number over your cell phone. Your call can be easily intercepted and your information stolen.
Change Your Password Regularly
Create a different set of logins and passwords periodically, weekly or monthly. That way, if your login or password is stolen, you'll soon have a new one in place.
The Bottom Line
Millions of consumers will be shopping online on Cyber Monday, and most of them will have no security problems. Still, dangers exists and careless consumers risk being scammed. For the well-informed and security-conscious consumer, however, scams, security threats and the potential for identity theft and credit card fraud can be avoided. (For additional reading, check out: 7 Tips To Avoid Online Scams and Swindles.)
Stock AnalysisLearn how Under Armour plans on doubling its revenue by 2018. Find out what areas the company plans to count on for this growth and its record streak.
TaxesLearn about the differences between sales taxes and Internet sales taxes, and the goods and services that typically incur each type of tax.
EntrepreneurshipLearn about how the Marketplace Fairness Act may impact small business owners should it pass in the House and what the act requires from business owners.
SavingsIf you're an aficionado of artisanal brews (or would like to be), a beer club can be a palate-pleasing, albeit pricey, way to expand your hops horizon.
Investing BasicsFind out how a national Internet sales tax could affect interstate commerce, and why some bigger online retailers are lobbying for such a tax.
Stock AnalysisIs DKS a bargain here?
Stock AnalysisUrban Outfitters just made a bold move. Will it pay off?
Stock AnalysisWill TripAdvisor's downside risk outweigh upside potential in 2016? It's most recent SEC filing offers some strong clues.
Stock AnalysisWalmart is enjoying a short-term rally. Is it sustainable? Is Amazon still a better bet?
SavingsSome points to consider, before committing to a membership for yourself – or as a gift. The right club can also help you save money over the holidays.
QVC accepts debit card payments as one of its many payment options. The company, which is the world’s leading video and e-commerce ... Read Full Answer >>
QVC, an American TV network, is registered with states to collect sales or use tax on taxable items. QVC is also required ... Read Full Answer >>
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) allows multiple payment options for its credit cards, including in-store payments. The ... Read Full Answer >>
Foreign visitors to Walmart locations in the United States can use their credit cards issued by banks outside of the U.S. ... Read Full Answer >>
QVC, Inc., is a wholly owned subsidiary of Liberty Interactive Corporation. It is attributed to the QVC Group tracking stock, ... Read Full Answer >>
Electronic retail is one of the fastest growing segments of the economy. Every year, more people are choosing to purchase ... Read Full Answer >>