Protecting yourself from fraud on Cyber Monday

It’s Thanksgiving week and once the turkey induced naps are over many people’s thoughts turn to just one thing:  Shopping! But Black Friday isn’t the only day to get great deals, in the past few years a new shopping day has become popular – Cyber Monday. This is the new trend of online retailers offering big sales the Monday after Thanksgiving. Many people choose to wait to buy big ticket electronic items on Cyber Monday instead of fighting the crowds in stores on Black Friday. Just like any other time you make an online purchase, it’s important to follow a few simple rules to stay safe. 

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Use Credit or PayPal

Most online retailers require a credit card or a credit card endorsed debit card (like a Visa CheckCard) in order to make a purchase. However, some sites will allow you to pay with your checking account. It’s best to run transactions as credit. As we covered last week, credit card companies offer more protection against fraud than many banks. 

Use only reputable sites

When buying anything online, it is important to make sure you’re buying it from a well known and well respected seller. That means either from the website of a store, preferably one with a location near you in case something goes wrong, or from sites like Amazon and eBay. On any website there should be information on how to contact customer service, and it should be more than just an email address. 
Special Note: When purchasing items on eBay or Amazon, be sure to notice where it is being shipped from if you want to get it in time for Christmas. Some places ship from Hong Kong or Japan and it can take up to 2 months for your item to come in. 

Use Secure Sites

If you’re making a purchase online, you should be on a secure site. How can you tell it’s a secure site? There are two ways to know if the site you’re on is secure. The address will start with https:// with the “s” signifying secure. There will also be a small padlock on the bar. These indicators may only show up when you start to checkout, but if they are not on the page it’s best to avoid entering any personal information. 
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Use Common Sense

As we said last week, like most things in life, common sense can be your best defense. 

  • Don’t use sites that do not have a good reputation
  • When making purchases, sites should never ask for social security numbers. 
  • Check your bank account before and after you shop and monitor it closely for a few days after.

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