Avoid Holiday ScamsNovember 12th, 2013 by The JetSetter Team | Comments Off on Avoid Holiday Scams
The holiday season is known for good times, good cheer, and goodwill. Sadly though, it also represents a prime opportunity for those looking to make an extra buck by scamming unsuspecting shoppers. Now, we’re doing a lot of our shopping online—it’s convenient, less expensive, and certainly less of a hassle. Unfortunately, this doesn’t decrease the risks to our safety, it merely changes them.
To prevent potential scams, Jason Hartman suggests these precautions.
Be sure to update your antivirus software every year—what protected your computer in 2012 may not protect it in 2013. Activate automatic updates and always install them as soon as they become available. Update your browser also, and apply high-level security settings before you begin shopping. It’s also a good idea to block pop-up messages, as most are spammy and not useful. If a pop-up manages to get through, simply X out of it.
It is also important to know that secure transactions are easy to spot—the s in “https” stands for secure and lets you know that the webpage is encrypted. Look for secure vendors before entering your credit card information, and always use strong passwords that are difficult to guess. Use numbers, upper and lower case letters, and special characters. Don’t store these in your computer or wallet.
Avoid emailing credit card numbers and social security numbers—email is not a secure way of communicating and can be easily hacked. Be sure to avoid using public computers or unsecured wireless internet networks when you’re making purchases as they are easily accessed by criminals who may monitor them to gain your personal information.
Always familiarize yourself with a site’s privacy policies to ensure that your information is not being passed on, and make payments by credit card, as they are protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act and you’ll be more likely to recoup your losses.
Finally, always review a merchant before making a purchase. If they’re unfamiliar, read reviews of the company, explore their policies, and check out the experiences others have had with them. Shop around for the places you shop—the internet is a big place! Keep record of purchases, including emails, receipts, etc, and check bank history to make sure you’ve authorized all charges.
Take advantage of the opportunity to shop online if that’s your thing. As long as you’re aware, careful, and diligent about your finances, you’ll set yourself up for a positive experience and (just maybe) some worry-free shopping.(http://www.flickr.com/photos/mugley/319352598/)
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