SUMMARY: From fraudulent online retailers, to deals that are too good to be true, the potential pitfalls are everywhere, but we’ve got the dos and don’ts for shopping safely throughout the season.
Holiday shopping presents so many opportunities to add joy to the season. However, with those opportunities comes the risk of identity theft and threats to our financial accounts. We've moved well beyond simply remembering to avoid leaving packages in our cars. With much of our shopping now done online, we must also use caution to avoid falling victim to cybercriminals.
From fraudulent online retailers, to deals that are too good to be true, the potential pitfalls are everywhere, but we’ve got the dos and don’ts for shopping safely through the season:
Do shop trusted stores and apps.
When shopping for your friends and family, be sure to shop online retailers you know and trust or those you can verify are trustworthy. Fraudulent online retailers pop up during the holiday season to take advantage of shoppers but sticking to retailers and shopping apps you’re familiar with can help you avoid these scams.
Don’t ship to an unsecured address.
When it’s time to have your purchases shipped, be sure to direct them to a secure location so your purchases are not stolen by so-called porch pirates. Some retailers, like Amazon, and shippers, like FedEx and UPS, have secure “shipping lockers” available for receiving your purchases so you can pick them up safe and sound.
Do use enhanced security features.
Make sure your usernames and passwords are strong - this has never been more important. Enabling multifactor authentication – a process requiring an additional step or two to verify your identity – is also a good idea. Even digital wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay, which you can link to your TDECU credit card or debit card, offer an additional layer of security by not sharing your card number with the merchant.
Don’t shop based on price alone.
Shopping for good deals is a great way to save money, but only if those amazing prices are found at retailers you can trust. When you see a price that is too good to be true, take a step back and consider the potential risks. It’s often worth paying a few extra dollars to ensure your purchase is secure and your delivery is on time.
Do shop on a secure network.
Shopping while out and about is convenient, but it also puts you at risk if you’re using public WiFi networks that can be easily hacked. Instead, save your shopping activities until you are on a secure network. You can also install and utilize a virtual private network (VPN) to create an encrypted connection as an added layer of security.
Don’t respond to suspicious email offers.
Your inbox may fill up with amazing deals and incredible offers, but don't click! These emails are often phishing scams designed to entice you to click on a link. Doing so could launch the download of malicious software or direct you to a convincing form asking you to provide account or other personally identifying information. Beware.
Do use a credit card.
Credit cards, like your TDECU Mastercard®, offer liability protection in case of fraudulent use of your card information by criminals. This means if a criminal obtains and uses your card information to make purchases or cash advances, you may not be held liable for the transactions.
Do check your statements.
When your shopping is complete, be sure to review your statements thoroughly to check for accuracy and to ensure there are no fraudulent transactions. If you find any discrepancies, contact the retailer and your credit card issuer immediately.
Have any questions? Call us at (800) 839-1154.
Learn more ways to stay safe this season and all year long by visiting our Security and Fraud Center.