Are You Ready?
We are inundated with advertisements this time of year. Retailers across the globe are trying to get our attention (and our money) by offering deals on items they think we may gift. There are the brands we all know and use, but then there are the smaller niche items that also may appeal to us.
Personally, I try to shop small when I can. I prefer Etsy to Amazon and local makers markets to malls. Shopping small is a great way to support individual and family owned businesses. Unfortunately, there are a plethora of less-than-honest quick resellers out there ready to take advantage.
So how do you keep yourself safe this year? Let’s take a look at a way to avoid shopping scams.
First, make sure you have a quality antivirus product. You really shouldn’t be on the web without one. As identity theft and ransomware attacks rise this year, it’s important to have a safeguard on your machine protecting you. PC Matic always recommends a default-deny approach. This is the basis of our protection and will keep you safe even from new and emerging threats.
Next, be cautious of where you’re clicking. Those targeted social media ads promise too good to be true prices on impressive items. If something is designed to make you click to find out more, then it’s probably set up to harvest your data or worse! I’ve purchased products from these ads before, they’re almost never as great as advertised. The measly monetary saving isn’t worth your data points.
Third, purchase with a verified shopping service or credit card. PayPal’s dispute center is a bit cumbersome to navigate and does take forever. Credit cards offer almost instant returns on disputed items. They’re specifically set up to keep you safe. These may be a better option than a service that has a lengthy dispute process.
Never should you use your debit card, especially on a smaller site. If you have it listed in places like Amazon and Etsy, they do protect your data. I would be hesitant to input that information into a site of a brand or retailer I’d just learned of, however.
Fourth, make sure the site you’re shopping is secure. Look up in the address bar of your web browser for the little lock beside the address. If the lock isn’t there, err on the side of caution and avoid putting in any payment information.
Finally, you’ll want to keep the receipts for all your purchases. I have a folder in my email where the receipt for literally every purchase I’ve ever made is stored. There have been instances when I’ve had to provide that proof of purchase to dispute an item that was never delivered. Keep those handy and don’t rely on the site to have a copy of your order!
This year promises to be very different in the way we celebrate the holidays. While we’ve all been a little frustrated and perhaps suffering from cabin fever, we want to make sure to stay safe. Following a few common sense tips can be the difference between enjoying your gift giving and becoming frustrated with scams. Remember, when it doubt, just don’t put your information into the site.
I hope you all have a joyous holiday season, and stay safe out there.
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