If you missed out on the thrill and savings of Black Friday, you can use Cyber Monday as a chance to catch up on your gift shopping. With any online shopping, make sure to reduce the risks that you take.
Cyber criminals could make your online experience more expensive than you were hoping for.
Use a credit card, never use a debit card online*. Most credit cards offer fraud protection that you won't get with a debit card. Also, if a debit card is compromised, they can empty your linked account balance before you can detect it. This means they are using your money until you get things cleared up, if you can get it cleaned up.
Some card companies also offer one time use virtual card numbers. This is a great way to not expose your primary credit card information.
*If you don't have a credit card, you can open a separate checking account with a debit card just for online shopping, just keep the balance low to minimize your losses in the event of a breach.
You should have online access to every card you own, and you should check the transactions frequently. If you have the ability to receive alerts on every transaction, you probably only need to check your activity weekly. If you don't get alerts, you may want to check daily.
Speaking of alerts. Check if your credit card offers either email and/or text alerts and set up alerts for transactions that wouldn't match your normal spending habits.
Even though there can be some great deals out there, do your homework, not all deals are what they appear to be. Look to confirm you are getting new products, not refurbished (unless that is what you want). Confirm that the product is coming from a trusted vendor with a history of successful transactions. And before you buy your friend some more stuff, make sure you friend even wants more stuff. Your time might be more valuable to them then a gift.
For further information on keeping yourself safe while shopping online, visit the FTC Consumer Information page about Shopping Online.
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Thanks for reading,
Brian Burkett, CEO