So long as you stick to trusted sites and don’t fall for any deals that seem too good to be true, holiday shopping online can be just as safe as in a store. In fact, online shopping can be safer than using your card in a store. People have fears about their credit card number being stolen online, yet they hand the same credit card number to a waiter who disappears into the back of the restaurant to ring up their order. What’s stopping that waiter from writing down your number and information? In recent news in my own hometown, there was a bartender who did just that with a card number he stole from one of his customers.
Furthermore, don’t be one of those sticklers who still writes checks for their purchases. Most checks still contain a wealth of personal information, including your bank account number printed right along the bottom. They also take extra time to clear, and that only gives criminals more time to tap into your account, or at least try to. Anyone who has seen the movie Catch Me If You Can will learn how easy it is to duplicate checks. I used to work in the fraud detection department of a large bank and it was a fairly regular thing to have tampered checks come through our office.
If you do a lot of shopping online, it also helps to stay on top of your accounts by utilizing online banking to track your purchases. You should log in at least once a day to make sure no mysterious charges pop up on your account. If you see something that shouldn’t be there, call your bank immediately and have them look into the matter. It is often recommended that you only use credits cards online instead of debit cards. That way you are not opening up your bank account in case your card number is compromised.
For more information, be sure to check out this great article on online shopping security.