SAFE IN 60

Safe in 60: How to Avoid Fraud While Shopping Online

Dec 3, 2018, 7:00 AM | Updated: Jan 21, 2019, 9:37 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Online shopping has become so convenient and simple, most of us don’t think twice before opening our laptop to shop. But what if you choose the wrong website and find yourself a victim of fraud?

Fraud complaints are prevalent. In 2016, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received nearly 300,000 online theft complaints. Victims lost a total of $1.3 billion, and those are just the ones that were reported.

Before you buy anything online this season, there are some signs to watch for to ensure you’re holiday purchases won’t hurt your finances.

First, shop at websites and retailers you trust or have shopped with before. There are websites out there that are fake and just looking for your credit card information.

If you’re not familiar with a company, read reviews online and check the Better Business Bureau for any complaints.

Another tip: if the business doesn’t have an e-mail, phone number or address listed, it could be a red flag it is a fake.

When browsing for great deals, keep in mind rock bottom prices may be another red flag. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is, especially if it’s a business you haven’t shopped with before.

Always use secure websites. The URL will start with “https//”. If there is no “s,” then it isn’t a secure website and your privacy is not protected. And never shop on public WiFi. Hackers can easily intercept your personal and banking information.

Use unique and strong passwords at every site. The passwords should be a complex set of uppercase and  lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.

Watch out for e-mail scams. If you receive an e-mail asking you to click a link or attachment for a great deal or special offer, it could be a virus.

Check your bank and credit card statements regularly for fraudulent charges. Some credit card companies have free notifications that will notify you immediately via text every time your credit card is charged.

Once you place an order, keep your order confirmation or tracking number so you can follow up with customer service if you have any issues.

Unfortunately, thieves are finding more and more ways to scam victims on the internet. Take a few minutes and use the web to your advantage. Save yourself a headache later and research before you buy.

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