**Originally published November 15, 2018. Updated November 12, 2019.**
While it’s important to practice safe online shopping all year long, it’s especially important during the holiday season.
Significant growth in digital channels for eCommerce has triggered a shift from brick and mortar stores to online shopping. In fact, U.S. holiday eCommerce sales are expected to grow by 13.2% to $135.35 billion. And, now that we can essentially use any device to shop, we’re also opening up the flood gates to scammers and identity thieves.
With 27 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, there’s ample shopping time to tackle those lists and receive those online orders before gift-giving celebrations. Now’s the time to also tackle how to stay safe when visiting all of those shopping websites.
The Holidays = Peak Season for Fraud
During the 2018 holiday shopping season, online purchase fraud increased by 13%. It’s safe to say that fraudulent activity could certainly meet or exceed that in the coming weeks in light of eCommerce sales growth.
Scammers and identity thieves know that people will be more carefree and less thrifty around the holidays, so they ramp up their activities targeting both consumers and businesses. When we shop, travel, and are preoccupied thinking of our loved ones, we are less cautious about protecting the personal information that fraudsters use to commit identity theft.
Scam Alert! What You Need to Know
If you plan on buying presents this year, you’re already a target. Here are three common scams with tips on how you can avoid them.
- Fake Apps & Websites | It’s easy for fraudsters to create a fake website or phony mobile app offering discounted merchandise. Be wary about what links you click on, and do your research before downloading a new app. If the website doesn’t contain “https” in its URL, never input personal or payment information. And, remember, if the deal is too good to be true, it probably is.
- Seasonal Games & Surveys | You’ve probably seen these before on social media. “Take this survey to find out which reindeer you are,” or something similar. Once you click on the link you need to answer a set of questions that often expose information regularly used to answer online security tests. Steer clear of these unless you know the source is legitimate, and even if it is, you still may not want to waste your time!
- Stolen Packages | Although this happens offline, you will have placed the order online. If a hacker is monitoring your online activity they can track shipments to your home and steal them when they arrive. You can prevent this by having packages delivered to your office, an Amazon Locker, or a pickup location provided by the carrier.
Give the Gift of Protection this Year
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