Someone holding a wrapped gift in their hands.

Holiday Shopping 101

More Presents, Less Scams Please

It’s convenient to shop online, especially during the holidays, and scammers are aware of this. Make sure you get what you pay for and protect your money by being vigilant this holiday season. Here are a few things that can mitigate your risks this holiday season.

Question the validity of the website.

A common way to verify if a website is legitimate and secure is to check for a padlock icon in the address bar; however, in today’s world that is not enough. With the increase of online fraud, you need to check deeper by also asking yourself these things:

  • Does it ask for suspicious permissions, like password access or credit card information?
  • Are poor grammar and misspelled words used?
  • Does the information on the site match when I run an online search?
  • Are deals too good to be true?
  • Are there online reviews for the retailer? If so, how many are there and are they too vague?

Use private Wi-Fi.

Many restaurants, hotels, libraries, and other places offer free public Wi-Fi, which is convenient when you’re on the go. However, these networks may expose your personal and banking information to scammers looking to steal names, social security numbers, and bank account numbers.

Think before you click.

Be on the lookout for emails that have typos or other obvious mistakes. In addition, be skeptical of email attachments described as coupons, rebates, or payment forms – they could include malware. And avoid email offers that seem “too good to be true.” If an email promises popular items for free or a surprisingly low price, it is probably a scam.

Support local businesses.

Shop with the people that are in your community. Purchasing from someone directly and immediately receiving what you paid for is the safest way to shop during the holidays. In the end, you can find thoughtful gifts and unique décor from local people that contribute to your community’s well-being.

At Flatwater Bank, we value keeping your information safe. If you suspect that you have been scammed by a retailer, save all documentation related to the transaction for reporting purposes. Learn more about how we keep your information secure here. For more tips like this, visit our insider tips page.