If you haven’t already begun your holiday shopping, you probably will soon.
It’s a busy time of year, but don’t forget to keep safety and security top-of-mind as you head out or go online. We’ve compiled a few safety tips that will keep you and your money secure this season.
Remember These Online Shopping Safety Tips
Online holiday shopping has been gathering steam in the last few years – and it’s not showing any signs of slowing down. You’ve probably taken advantage of deals for Black Friday and Cyber Monday (without the early mornings and crowds) yourself.
Just remember to be aware whenever you’re shopping online. Follow some of these keys to keep your personal and financial information secure.
- Look for the lock. Most internet browsers display a lock icon on the left side of the address bar. This signifies that the site is secure and it’s probably safe to input your information. You should also look for the letters https at the beginning of the URL.
- Be wary of links. Email marketing is big during November and December. If you receive an email from a site you’ve never heard of, or if it’s a well-known site but the email seems off, don’t click on any links within. Always check to see who the sender is. Typos and addresses with lots of numbers are often red flags.
- Be smart about where you shop. Don’t use public or unsecured Wi-Fi networks to do your shopping – it’s not hard for hackers to compromise your information. Save the shopping for when you’re home or on another trusted network.
- Avoid stolen packages. If you live in an apartment complex or somewhere packages are often stolen, arrange for someone to be home when your things are delivered. Or, see if you can have the package sent to your workplace or a friend’s home instead.
If you’re online and something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Trust your gut and stay away from suspicious sites offering unbelievable deals – unless you know for sure they’re OK.
Be Safe When Shopping at a Bricks-and-Mortar Store, Too
Online shopping is convenient, but sometimes you need to head to a good old-fashioned store to get what you need.
Shopping malls and stores tend to be more crowded during the holidays. Keep some of these tips in mind as you head there.
- Don’t carry large amounts of cash. Many people don’t even carry cash these days, but if you do, don’t advertise it. Carry a purse or bring a wallet that’s easy to keep track of. A better option is to use a credit or debit card.
- Do be careful about stashing your purchases. A bunch of shopping bags sitting in plain sight in your car is just asking for trouble. Keep your purchases in your trunk, or at least cover them with an old blanket or towel to deter thieves. And always lock your car!
- Don’t use just any ATM. If you do need cash, choose an ATM that’s in a well-lit and safe area. Make sure to cover the screen so people can’t see your PIN number, and don’t throw away your receipt there.
- Do be aware of your surroundings. Park in an area where people are around. If you’re out after dark, make sure you know where you’re going. Bring a friend along if possible. If you see a suspicious person around your car, walk away and call the police.
All that said, there’s no need to feel anxious about shopping during the holidays. Just use your common sense and stay alert as you pick up those presents.
How CardValet® Can Help
With everything to keep track of during these months, it’s nice to have some help. CardValet keeps your debit cards secure and safe – and might even help you save money, too.
As you head out and about with your debit cards, use this app to get alerts on your phone if your cards are used, prevent unauthorized transactions, and more. That way, if your card is lost or stolen, you can immediately turn it off. And setting spending limits might be an incentive for you to stick to your budget!
Getting the app is simple: Just search “CardValet” on Google Play or the App Store, and download it today.