Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful. And since we’ve no place to go, let’s… shop online, shop online, shop online. Snuggled up on the couch with a hot beverage, holiday music playing in the background and your favorite online shopping websites at the ready. What could be better?
Online shopping for the 2018 holiday season is expected to increase by 15.5 percent this year, and with a rise in online shopping comes an increase in grinches (aka fraudsters) trying to steal your account information.
Follow these tips to stay safe online (and continue spreading holiday cheer!).
- Think twice before trying out a new website. We’re all for finding the best deal, but not at the expense of handing your account information over to untrustworthy vendors. Stick to websites you’ve used in the past, or that you’ve thoroughly researched by reading reviews and seeing what others say about their experiences. Avoid clicking on links in emails (unless it’s a trusted website you’ve used regularly), as it’s all too easy for fraudsters to send you emails posing as legitimate companies.
- Keep an eye out for typos—and the almighty ‘s’. Double-check the website URL—which can be found in the bar at the top of your web browser—to make sure everything is spelled correctly. Scammers use URLs that look similar to your favorite online shopping sites but are misspelled or have extra letters. If you are sure the website is the real deal, make sure it has an ‘s’ or lock symbol (which can also be found in the bar at the top of your screen) when you are entering your credit card information. This indicates the site is secure, meaning your financial information is encrypted, making it harder for fraudsters to steal your holiday shopping money.
- Read those statements. While we know it’s not at the top of your holiday reading list, keeping a close watch on your monthly statements (or recent activity in online banking) can help you keep tabs on how much you’ve spent AND quickly spot and report purchases you did not make.
- Take your time. While many deals expire quickly online, be sure to look for the company’s return policy and expected shipping time so you don’t get stuck with an unwanted gift or left waiting until Christmas 2019 for your gifts to arrive.
If you think you may have entered your financial information into a fraudulent site, call Verve immediately at 800.448.9228 so one of our team members can help check your account for purchases you did not make and safeguard your account against fraud. You can also rest assured that if our fraud block system, OmniShield, detects potentially fraudulent use of your card, a temporary hold will be placed on it, and you’ll receive a text message with details about the suspicious transaction.
It’s Verve’s goal—in line with our guiding seven Cooperative Principles—to provide education, training and information to help our members stay financially fit. Verve is committed to keeping our members educated when it comes to their finances by providing details on financial risks and ways to stay safe. Share this blog post with a friend to help them stay safe while shopping online.