Online Shopping is a daily occurrence but doing it safely is still a major challenge. Below are tips and information on how you can stay safe while you shop online.
Know who you are doing business with
- This means shopping with brands, stores, and people you know
- Read their privacy policies and understand how your information will be stored and used
In the case of “Marketplace vendors” (Amazon, Etsy, WalMart)
- Familiarize yourself with any purchase protection services available
- Read reviews on the seller and product(s)
- Look for Secure Payment Options
- Be familiar with the product you are purchasing
Be cautious of “Too Good To Be True" deals
- This includes any unsolicited emails, third party ads, pop-ups and text messages selling products
- Shop from a secure area using a secure (non-public) WI-FI or VPN (Virtual Private Network) service
- Verify the web address and look to ensure the website you are on is secure
- Secure websites should have the "https" and a lock icon 🔒 in the address bar.
Use safe methods for purchase
- If you have a credit card, use it instead of a debit card as they offer additional protections to limit your liability for fraudulent charges.
- Consider using a credit card even on peer to peer payment apps and digital wallets such as PayPal, Venmo, Google & Apple Pay
When using apps make sure to review the safety settings and shopping settings
- Considering using multifactor identification not only for signing in but also purchases where available.
Keep copies of confirmation of purchase, receipts, and compare them against your account statements.
- Look for any unidentified charges that may appear on the statement.
Scammers operate in many different ways and even the most cautious of shoppers are still vulnerable to becoming their victim. If you have been scammed it is important to take action immediately and report these incidents when they happen.
Exercise any purchase protection offered by the marketplace or website
Report the incident to your credit card company or bank as soon possible
- Have any confirmation notices, emails and details about the transaction available, including the website where the purchase was made.
Report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.