Holiday Shopping Safety Tips

We're right in the midst of the annual holiday shopping frenzy.
Use these tips to help stay safer when shopping!

Online Shopping

To stay secure while still enjoying the benefits of shopping from the comfort of your couch, be sure to follow these safety tips:

Be Sure the site is secure. Look for https (instead of http) at the beginning of the address bar and/or a padlock icon. This means the site has an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate, which provides an encrypted connection and verifies the website.

Stick with what you know. If you can only find the perfect gift on a website you stumbled upon, be sure to look for alternative ways to contact them, such as a physical address or phone number.

Beware of spoofers. You probably shop Amazon.com; if you received an email from Amazon.net would you notice? If you saw a link to Wallmart.com would you notice the spelling error? These are tricks that online thieves use to get your information.

Use a VPN or secure Wifi. Mobile hotspots are generally not secure and can be tapped by cyber-savvy criminals. Only use a virtual private network (VPN) service when using public wifi.

Keep your anti virus software up to date. If you're not getting updates, you're not well protected. Plus choose strong passwords that are difficult to hack.
 

Protecting Your Packages

Unfortunately parcel theft is a problem this time of year, but there are some easy ways to protect your purchases from pesky porch pirates.

Choose pickup. Smart lockers allow you to get packages delivered to convenience stores, supermarkets and other shops where they'll be safe until you pick them up.

Have packages delivered to your office. Deliveries are generally made only when the business is open, and there's almost always someone to receive your items.

Provide a locked container that delivery people can slip packages into. Post a large note telling them to use the lock box rather than leaving your parcels unprotected.

Invest in a smart doorbell camera. Especially if you can get one that will message your smart phone when it detects activity at your door. You have options to go home and get your package, call a neighbor, or even use it to keep an eye the package and yelling at the porch pirates to go away!

In Store Shopping
Take these steps to protect yourself when you're out and about at brick-and-mortar stores:


Hide it, take it, lock it. Car break-ins are crimes of opportunity. Hide your belongings in your trunk or under the seats. Be sure to take them with you and always lock your car when you leave it.

Don't flash the cash. Pullings wads of cash as you go from store to store pretty much puts a target on your back. Using a credit card is much safer. Many have built-in guarantees that make it easier to return and protect you if an item is damaged or stolen.

Go casual. Leave the flashy jewelry, high-end purse and shoes and fancy clothes at home.

Don't overdo it. If your arms are full of bags and boxes, you could be a target for a pickpocket or other type of thief. 

Shop in the daytime. Light means you can avoid shady characters and situations more easily.


Be sure to use these tips to help be safer when holiday shopping this year. We want your season to be merry and bright. Need some more tips? Review our Security Center page to find more about scams, spoofers and tips to keep safe!

 

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