5 Tips for Safe Holiday Shopping

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The holiday season of 2020, like so much of this year, is shaping up to be unlike any other. Families are looking for meaningful ways to spend time with their loved ones while being healthy. As more consumers eschew the traditional in-store shopping experience, experts expect that this mindset will be a primary driver of record high online sales.

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Both Deloitte and Adobe Analytics are bullish on e-commerce, forecasting a 25 percent to 35 percent increase in online holiday sales between November and January 1. Total e-commerce sales would then reach a new high of $186-$192 billion.

Walmart®, Target®, Best Buy®, and Kohl’s® will all be closed on Thanksgiving Day so that their employees may spend time with their families. Only a few businesses are likely to provide Black Friday offers that are only available in-store. The good news is that you won’t have to stand in line for hours in the cold outside your favorite store in order to grab “the” hot present of the season. That also implies that millions of individuals will purchase online for the first time, many of them will be doing so for the first time. And this might put your personal finances and identity at risk.

Here are five suggestions for making the most of the e-commerce potential while maintaining excellent “online security hygiene.”

1. Take action right now; don’t wait.

Fulfillment centers would struggle to keep up with consumer demand due to the predicted increase in sales. If everyone waited until the last two weeks before the holidays to shop, supply chains would be disrupted. As a result, you run the danger of your order arriving late – or not at all.

Take advantage of the early discounts and promotions that many stores give to encourage early purchases. That retail model might already be working. One-third of shoppers aim to finish their holiday shopping by Black Friday, according to Adobe®.

2. Be aware of your sources.

But be wary: there are unscrupulous groups impersonating reputable firms, and they frequently use huge discounts to entice you to hand over your credit card and other sensitive information. Stick to well-known retailers and ‘official’ mobile apps to avoid this risk.

Examine customer reviews and other reliable feedback to gain a feel of the merchandise’s quality, the accuracy of expected delivery schedules, and the overall customer experience with that vendor. How easy are they to deal with in the event of returns or other problems, for example?

Before you complete a transaction, check the URL for the letter ‘https’, which indicates that the site is secure. The store makes it more difficult for the information you share on that site to be stolen by encrypting it. Taking the time to do your homework might help you avoid disappointment or, worse, financial peril.

3. Keep an eye on your money.

It’s a good idea to use your credit card for holiday shopping because it comes with built-in protection. Most lenders will flag any questionable behavior and minimize your exposure to further attempted fraud. Also, keep your credit card details safe. One piece of advice: don’t save your credit card numbers in your online shopping accounts. That ‘convenience’ for you may make it easier for hackers to steal your information and use it against you. Keep an eye on your personal accounts as well.

Digital wallets, such as Apple Pay®, PayPal®, and Google PayTM, can provide a quick, simple, and secure payment method. When you utilize it, the vendor has no access to your bank or credit card information, ensuring that your identity is protected in the event that the merchant is hacked. Mobile wallets also provide 24/7 fraud monitoring, and a consumer would be refunded for any loss, fraud, or unauthorized transaction thanks to zero-liability protection. (Contactless purchases are made in person by simply pointing your phone to the sales station.)

Prepaid debit cards or gift cards, on the other hand, can add an extra layer of security to your online buying because they work like cash and don’t give anyone access to your bank account or other financial information

4. Information phishing.

Phishing emails are prevalent throughout the year but often increase around the holidays. They frequently take the guise of enticing holiday discounts that are too good to be true. Appeals for money to assist a nonprofit organization (that doesn’t exist) are even more devious. You can check with the Better Business Bureau to see if a charity is legitimate.

Phishing emails may contain branding from companies you’re acquainted with, but a quick look at the URL will usually reveal that it’s an imposter. The best course of action is to delete it, mark it as spam, and avoid clicking on embedded links, opening attachments, or responding with personal or financial information.

5. Seek assistance.

What if, despite your best attempts to follow best practices for online purchases, anything goes wrong? If your identity is stolen, you have access to a network of attorneys who can help you recover financial damages and restore your reputation if you have legal insurance.

When you click the “I accept” button on an online transaction, you are essentially entering into a contract with the retailer. You anticipate receiving these goods in good shape and within the specified timeframe. If you believe you’ve been duped by a “bait and switch” scheme, you may be entitled to a refund or exchange if the items don’t meet your expectations or aren’t delivered at all. Your attorney can advise you or work to enforce these contracts or warranties for “high ticket” goods like gadgets or jewelry. That’s that about “5 Tips for Safe Holiday Shopping”

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