As the holiday season begins, the sales start rolling in. But in an effort to buy great gifts at discounted prices, many shoppers fall victim to scams and rip-offs this time of year. Whether it’s hackers trying to steal your payment info or companies trying to pawn off low quality products, it pays to be diligent when placing orders during holiday sales.
To protect yourself this shopping season, follow these simple tips.
This time of year, you may run into some online scams disguising themselves as great deals. While it always pays to go with your gut. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Knowing what to look out for helps too. Watch out for emails disguising themselves as legitimate companies so they can steal your information. Keep reading for more information.
Be Conscience of Too Good Pricing
As holiday shopping ramps up, you may be excited to explore the sales and score big deals on items from your wishlist. But be careful – if you come across a price that’s too good to be true, it could be a warning sign that you’re not going to get your money’s worth. Even paying a fraction of the regular price could be a waste of money if it’s a crummy product. If possible, test the product as much as possible to ensure that it works and is in good condition before you purchase it.
Use Trusted Retailers
When it comes to online shopping, this time of year you may receive an abundance of emails boasting major discounts and promoting great deals on hot ticket products. In some cases, they may duplicate their website to look like a trusted brand’s online store, in order to lure you into leaving your payment information. Always exercise caution when dealing with an online store that you’re not familiar with, and double check that you’re at the correct site when placing an order with a trusted online store.
Avoid Shipping Email Scams
A common holiday scam derives from spam emails that are masked to look like they came from a shipping company. Often, they will try to get your financial details by telling you there was an issue with your order that requires payment.
- Do not open attachments to the emails. They may contain a computer virus.
- Do not click links that are in the email. Instead, type in the web site address that you know is correct.
- Always check the tracking information from your confirmation email before giving any information to a strange company.
- If you’re unsure if the email is legit, you can always contact the seller to confirm their shipping company.
Do Your Homework
A little research goes a long way, especially when it comes to spending money. Take some time to make sure you know all the details you need to make an educated purchasing decision.
Be Aware of Retailer’s Return Policy
Sales are usually great for shoppers – unless you try to return an item you purchased at a discount. Even trusted retail brands can have some odd return policies when it comes to sales items. Before making a purchase, make sure that you understand the return policy completely to protect yourself if you need to return the gift.
Know Your Extended Warranties
Purchasing an extended warranty seems like a smart idea, especially for expensive electronics. Except, they may not do much if your product already comes with a warranty, or if one is built into your credit card policy. Before making a large purchase, be aware of the warranties that already are applied to the product before purchasing additional protection.
Read Seller and Product Reviews
If you’re buying a product online or using an online retailer for the first time, see what others are saying about the item or service. Ratings can let you know if it’s a sound purchase or if there are any red flags you should avoid.
Protect Your Funds
A lot of money changes hands during the holiday season, and your credit card probably gets a workout. Unfortunately, hackers use the unusual purchasing activities of the holidays in their favor, and tend to target victims for identity theft this time of year. However, there are steps you can take to protect yourself.
Check Your Bank Account Frequently
Detecting fraudulent activity early will increase chances of your bank reimbursing your account and prevent hackers from spending too much of your money. To stay on top of your activity, check your bank account at least every two to three days throughout the holiday season.
Keep Payment Information Secure
Never use wire transfers or cash when purchasing items online – otherwise, you may fall victim to a scam without any tracking or protection to be reimburse your funds. Instead, use trusted payment systems, like Paypal, to place your online orders.
While the holidays are filled with cheer, a credit card scam or identity theft can quickly rob you of the holiday spirit. These simple steps can help protect you during the holidays. If you want extra protection against identity theft, be sure to contact us for more information.