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Online Shopping Safety for the Holidays

Woman online holiday shopping with credit card.The pumpkins are getting packed up, as thoughts of holiday shopping begin to fill our heads. Rather than tromping out in the cold weather, the majority of the world prefers to do their shopping from the comfort of home. In fact this year it’s estimated that U.S. shoppers will spend $119 billion online in November and December, according to Internet Retailer’s analysis.

Before you whip out your card to bring some holiday joy, consider this. The Better Business Bureau advised that online shopping fraud was the biggest type of consumer fraud in 2017 – with the majority being credit card fraud. With statistics like that, it’s now more important than ever to protect yourself when shopping online.  Use these 4 simple steps to help protect yourself online.

  • Steer clear of public Wi-Fi. You may think knocking out your shopping while visiting your favorite coffee shop sounds delightful, but you could be putting yourself at risk. Unsecured Wi-Fi connections are perfect places for fraudsters to intercept information like your credit card number.
  • Use strong security precautions for password protection. Many websites will let you recover, reset, or login to your account by answering security questions. Unfortunately, if the question is what’s the city you were born in or what’s your dog’s name – a quick trip to your Facebook Page could provide fraudsters just these answers. In this case it would be smarter to pick a harder security question or even make up a fake answer that only you know, but is easy to remember.
  • Shop at websites you trust. It’s easy enough for fraudsters to create fake stores or even recreate some of your favorite places to shop online. Always make sure the web address you’re visiting is accurate and stay away from suspicious retailers you’ve never used. For added security look for “https” or a lock icon in the web address bar which indicates the site has validated security.
  • Keep an eye on your statements. Better yet – use tools that give you real time account notifications and management of your cards. Waterford offers Personal Mobile Banking and Card Valet which let you do just that. With Card Valet you can even set spend limits and merchant restrictions so that your card can’t be used unless you authorize it. Learn more about Card Valet here.

The best takeaway we can leave you with is always think before you click. If something seems suspicious to you, avoid it. It only takes a second to compromise your information online and fraudsters are eager to make their holidays brighter with your money.