Festive decorations adorn storefronts and holiday music fills every shop; a reminder that the holiday season is upon us. It is a busy time of the year, full of parties, reunions with family and friends and plenty of shopping.
According to the National Retail Federation, 2016’s holiday sales are expected to increase 3.6 percent over last year to 655.8 billion dollars. Shoppers are estimated to spend an average of $935.58 on gifts, food, décor, cards, and personal purchases.
That means a lot of time spent in stores and online looking for just the right gift, decoration, or meal for the season. It is also a prime time for a crime, especially if you’re shopping online.
Based on a recent SiteLock ORC International survey, over 80 percent of respondents plan to do at least some of their holiday shopping online. Buying gifts online provides competitive sale pricing, a flexible shopping timeline and a convenient solution for shipping gifts to family and friends all over the world. However, this convenience also brings a great deal of risk. A recent SiteLock statistic shows eCommerce websites are 1.5 times more likely to be compromised than the average website. Luckily we have compiled some tips to keep you and your wallet protected this season!
Safe Online Shopping Tips
- Monitor your credit: Check your credit card statements and credit score for discrepancies or unusual activity. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, contact your bank immediately.
- Use secure networks: Only complete online transactions when connected to a secure Wi-Fi connection or with a secure device such as a Hotspot. Do not purchase gifts or share personal information on a public or unprotected network. That means no Christmas shopping at your favorite coffeehouse.
- Defend your data: Before sharing any confidential information, confirm that you are shopping on a legitimate website. Look for the “https” or “shttp” at the beginning of web addresses or the closed padlock to signify an encrypted website.
- Keep your guard up: Be wary of scam emails promoting deals that are too good to be true, or requesting you open attachments or follow links. Phishing links or malicious attachments are often hidden in seemingly innocent emails. If you are unsure, delete it!
- Update your info: Change online store passwords regularly. Do not save payment information online unless it is required for recurring payment.
Holiday shopping should remain a fun and exciting way to get in the holiday spirit! Take these tips to heart to ensure a little less stress this season!