Gifting time is here! The busiest shopping month of the year is about to begin, so here are some tips to keep yourself and your purchases safe this December (and year round!).
• Online shopping
o Protect your credit card when shopping online by only entering your card information on websites with the little yellow padlock icon. This icon means that the website is secure and that your transaction will be encrypted. The technical term is “Secure Sockets Layer” and the URL will begin with “https” instead of just “http.”
o Make sure your computer’s anti-virus software is up to date.
o Never shop online in a public location. When you’re at the coffee shop, your kid’s gymnastics lesson, or the airport, you’ll likely be connected to that establishment’s wi-fi. These connections are less secure than your home or office’s internet connection and you’re also vulnerable to thieves who are using that connection to hack your transactions.
o Try using PayPal for an extra layer of security instead of your credit card. Avoid using a direct debit to your checking or savings account.
o Use caution when giving out additional information aside from your delivery address. There’s no need for a website to know your date of birth or any other identifiable information about you just for you to make a purchase.
o Delivery information is usually emailed to you or even automatically placed in your calendar so you’ll know exactly when to expect your packages. Notify a neighbor if you won’t be home, as thefts off of porches are becoming more and more common. To this end, Amazon has created in-home delivery whereby you can share a key to your house and the delivery person can safely place your boxes inside.
• In-store shopping
o When at the mall, park in well-lit areas as close to an entrance as possible. Try to avoid the back corner of a parking garage or the street side of a parking lot.
o Put your packages and bags in your trunk or use a cover to hide them.
o Take bags out to your car frequently during your shopping trip. Having fewer items to handle makes it easier for you to have your keys in hand and get into your car quickly, therefore making you less likely to be a target for theft.