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Safe Shopping

The holidays are quickly approaching and with the holidays comes shopping season. Although Black Friday is still the busiest shopping day of the year for retailers, the number of people physically shopping in stores has declined drastically over the past few years. With the rise of cyber shopping, people are more and more inclined to stay home and shop from the comfort of their couch rather than brave the large crowds over the holiday season. In 2018 alone, Black Friday yielded a record breaking $6.22 billion in online sales. While cyber shopping might be more convenient and seemingly less dangerous than in-person shopping there are still plenty of safety concerns to take into consideration while ordering your way through the holidays.

Protect your finances. Shopping online can put you at risk for getting scammed or having your finances compromised. To ensure maximum security while online shopping make sure to follow these steps:

• Research online retailers to ensure their legitimacy. If a deal seems just too good to be true, it very well may be. A good way to make sure a website is secure is to look for the padlock symbol in the address bar to the website. To find out who has registered the site, you can click the padlock to see the site certificate containing this information. If you get a warning message about the site certificate, do not purchase from this website.

• Do not use public wifi to make purchase or check bank accounts. Often times public wifi is not secure and therefore the information you use while connected to that wifi could be accessed for fraudulent purposes. If you MUST use the internet while away from home for shopping or banking, use your mobile data instead of public wifi.

• If possible, make an account for retailers before purchasing products and then use that account for all purchases going forward. This allows all purchases to be traced quickly and adds another layer of protection for your personal information like your credit card number.

• Look for websites that use two-step authentication for purchases. A common form of two-step authentication is when a website sends you a text message with a one-time use code to ensure it is actually you who is making the purchase. Two-step authentication is a simple way for retailer to ensure it is actually you who is attempting an online purchase.

Protect your packages. Porch pirates, or criminals who steal packages left outside doors by couriers, are out in full force during the holiday season. Here are a few quick tips to help protect your packages from thieves:

• If possible, schedule a time for your packages to be delivered when you know you will be home

• If you do not have the option of scheduling delivery times, track your packages closely and ask a trusted neighbor to pickup your packages from your doorstep as soon as they are delivered. Alternatively, consider having packages delivered to a work address.

• Consider video surveillance for your front porch. Security cameras or video doorbells can be used to monitor your front porch and can often deter thieves from taking your packages. Video doorbells can also be extremely helpful if providing proof if a package does ever get stolen.

Whether you are shopping in stores or online this holiday season, we hope you will take extra precautions this year to keep yourself safe! As always, it is important for you to pay close attention to your surroundings and maintain a safety mindset while shopping both in person and online. We wish you a happy, and safe holiday season!

Posted by on 26 Nov 2019