Don’t Fa La La Victim to Holiday Scams

We’ve posted a lot here and on our Facebook/Twitter accounts about all of the ways to save money this season. But when shopping online during this busy month of mayhem, be careful that you don’t become the victim of online scams. What should you watch out for? We’ve got a list!

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1. BIG discounts from sites you’ve never heard of. “An iPad for $40? I’ll take two!”. Or, don’t. No one in their right mind is selling a brand new iPad for $40 and you should know that. Don’t believe the hype, especially when it sends you to a site that you’ve never heard of.

2. Emails that ask you for your payment information. If you get an email from Best Buy saying “send us your credit card number and we’ll ship out this brand new Sony TV today” don’t do it. In fact, make that a rule for all the time. Do not send your credit card number to ANYONE through email, even your mother. Anyone can snatch it right from your inbox if you get hacked. Don’t make that kind of mistake.

3. Sites that are spelled funny. Did you suddenly find yourself at http://www.maaacys.com? That’s probably not a real place, even though it might look right. Close the browser tab and open a fresh one where you type the name into the URL bar correctly. Scammers love people who misspell things and they actively try to scam those that make a simple mistake. Don’t let yourself get scammed with that one.

4. Look for the S. Whenever you are shopping online, and are about to check out, look up in the address bar and make absolutely sure you see it start with HTTPS instead of just HTTP. The S also has a little lock in front of it, letting you know this is a secure site. Do not put your payment information into that site unless it is there.

5. Clicking emails from people you don’t know. If you get an email about a great deal, with a link to click through for easy access, make sure you know who sent that link. Better yet, don’t click the link at all and just go to the site directly in another window. This way you can avoid viruses and keep your identity safe. This same thing goes for attachments. Don’t download them if you don’t know who they came from.

6. Keeping your passwords the same. All of these online retailers usually will require you to create an account on their site for you to be able to check out with your purchases. Make sure you aren’t using the same password for all of them. Use a great tool like LastPass to keep track of them, or just write them down pen and paper style. This way if one site gets hacked, they can’t get into your accounts on other sites.

Do you have any other tips for staying safe online? We want to hear them! Shopping online can be fun and easy but just make sure you’re staying safe while doing it.

 

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