According to the National Retail Federation, more than 100 million Americans will shop today, Cyber Monday. And shoppers are being urged to be extra careful, so they can avoid identity theft and fraud. Here are some tips to help you stay safe.
First, stick with online retailers you recognize. Don’t shop at sites you are unfamiliar with. If you run across a site that bears an unknown domain name or is misspelled, that’s a huge red flag – move on to a different site.
If you find an item you wish to purchase, make sure that the site is secure before you enter your credit card information. You’ll know it’s secure if you see “https” in the URL instead of just “http.”
You should plan to use your credit card to shop, rather than your debit card. Your debit card is a direct link to your bank account. Credit cards provide greater consumer protection and less liability.
If you are physically shopping at a store, make sure you only carry the credit or debit card you need. Do not carry extra cards, your check book, or Social Security card with you. If your wallet is stolen or lost, you’ll be out of luck if it’s full of this extra information.
Last of all, make sure you check out any machine you are using before you swipe your card. Thieves are using devices called skimmers, which can be attached to point of sale machines in stores, ATMs and even gas pumps. Don’t swipe your card if the device looks out of place, and if you choose to use the device, shield your PIN or ask the cashier to run your card through the register rather than the card reader if the card reader looks strange to you.