Stay Safe From Online Scams This Holiday Season

With Cyber Monday upon us, many of us will be shopping sales online.

Unfortunately, retailers aren’t the only ones hoping to cash in on the influx of online shoppers. Online scams are constantly attempting to collect your personal and financial information or steal your money.

As you spread holiday cheer, here’s how to avoid spreading your sensitive financial information to fraudsters. Protect yourself this holiday gift-giving season with these tips to ensure you shop online safely and securely.

1. Locate The Lock

A secure internet connection when making a purchase is mandatory. Reputable websites use technologies such as SSL (Secure Socket Layer) that encrypt data during transmission to stay safe from online scams. You can confirm a secure connection if you see at the front of your address bar a little lock icon on your browser (and usually “https”).

2. Secure Payment Is Safer Payment

Shop only on sites that accept secure payment methods, such as credit card numbers and PayPal, which are electronically linked to your credit card or bank account. Never shop on a website that only accepts payment via check, cash, mail order, or requests you buy and pay with a gift card. Reputable merchants will usually have some sort of security seal of approval, such as DigiCert, Better Business Bureau, or VeriSign.

3. Keep Online Scams Down by Keeping Your Software Up to Date

Whatever device you shop on – whether it’s your smartphone, laptop, desktop, or tablet – always keep the operating system up to date. Also, use good anti-malware (“malicious software”) that includes anti-virus and a firewall.

4. Keep Criminals Away By Doing Your Homework

On auction sites like eBay and Facebook Marketplace, check the seller’s reputation and read comments before buying a product to see what the experience was like for past customers.

5. Use Good Passwords

A good password is at least eight characters long and includes letters, numbers, and symbols. Or use a passphrase, which is a long string of words together, and include a number and symbol, too. For example, the sentence “My dog Emma has a birthday April 16!” could be used to create a passphrase like “MdEhabA16!

6. Smart Shoppers Are Safe Shoppers

Also, don’t forget the No. 1 tip about shopping: if it seems too good to be true, it is probably an online scam. You won’t find an iPhone 15 Pro for $300.

The holidays are meant to be enjoyed. These simple safety measures allow you to enjoy peace of mind as you shop online and gift the people who matter most to you! Want to shop safely and get fantastic deals and savings on all the best shopping and gifts for the holidays? Remember to use AMBA Discounts! Membership is absolutely FREE and you’re already enrolled as a member of your association!

Members, if you don’t have your activation code, please call our office at 919-834-4652 or 1-800-356-1190.