‘Tis the Season for Online Fraud, Practice Safe Shopping

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just around the corner, and many of us will be taking advantage of online bargains to avoid the crowds this holiday season. With more than $42 billion in online transactions taking place during the 2012 holiday season, online shopping is bound to attract a criminal element. Here are a few tips for making your online purchases a little safer:

  • Make sure the website uses HTTPS when you are checking out. The easiest way to determine this is to look for the https or a padlock near the website’s address. On mobile devices, the padlock can be located on the browser’s tab. HTTPS padlock
  • If you click on a link, make sure it goes to the site indicated. A common way for scammers to trick people into give up payment or personal information is to have a website that looks like another reputable website. Often this is done by misspelling a website’s address very slightly. This is especially true of e-mails offering discounts or other incentives.
  • An example would be Google with three o’s instead of two or paypals.com instead of the correct paypal.com.
  • Another variation of this is to have a reputable site’s name used somewhere in the fraudulent site’s name. Ex: Amazon.com.ca/shopping or fac.ebook.com. Notice the punctuation, it’s very important.
  • Banks or credit card companies will never ask you for a password or other account information via e-mail.
  • It’s also good practice to never click a link within an e-mail from a bank or credit card company. Go to their site and login from there. This will minimize the chances of going to a fraudulent site.

These suggestions are good year round, but they can help keep your holiday season festive