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12_7-shoppingYesterday we posted part 1 of our holiday gift guide to help fulfill your tech shopping needs. While many of those items are available in brick-and-mortar stores, a good majority of holiday shopping happens online. Unfortunately because of this and the extra hustle and bustle of the holiday season it ends up being a pretty profitable time for scammers to strike so be sure to know how you can stay safe online. Please remain alert while shopping online and take time to check out the reputation of a vendor or charity before giving them your payment information. Here are some additional tips to keep yourself safe this year:

Open e-mail with extra caution

  • Do not click on any links or download attachments unless you know the sender. We know this can be hard with all the promotional emails received during the holiday season, but it’s important that you know who you’re opening mail from.
  • Look out for fake ads, fake shipping notifications, and e-cards from anyone you don’t know. Any of these could be used to trick you into downloading a virus or giving away your password.

As with the rest of the year as well, opening emails from people you don’t know isn’t a great idea, but during the holidays when there are bound to be more unsolicited emails than normal it’s extra-important.

Staying Safe While Shopping online 

  • Before you enter any payment information, make sure you are doing business with reputable vendors who will actually deliver their products or services as promised.
  • Do an internet search on vendors and check their reviews if available.
  • Another good idea, if you’re unsure about the direct website, is to look for the product on a reputable site, like Amazon or other large online retailers, and order from them.
  • If you’re doing any shopping on a public wifi network, make sure you’re following these guidelines to keep yourself safe

One more that can help protect you while shopping online, and can ensure a happier shopping experience in general, is checking to see if your vendor is a Google Trusted Store. These stores have been verified by Google, and with the Google Trusted Store free protection you’re covered for purchases up to $1000, in case of shipping accidents or if the store fails to fulfill the order in some way.

Charity Scams and Donations

The FTC recommends looking for these warning signs that a charity could be a scam:

  • The charity doesn’t provide detailed information about how donations will be used.
  • You’re pressured to donate- they want you to donate “right now” and won’t give you time to think it over.
  • The charity asks for cash donations, gift cards, or for money to be wired to them.

In addition, there are several resources you can use to check out a charity before you decide to give them a donation:

If you do happen to come along a fake charity, make sure to report it to the FTC here.

While shopping online is generally the easiest way to get all your shopping done, it can sometimes be a little dangerous, especially during the holiday season, so make sure you’re paying attention, and keeping private information private.