Traditionally, the Monday after Black Friday marks the largest “online” Christmas shopping day. Wood County Crime Stoppers and Sheriff Jim Brown offer the following tips for a safe online shopping season:
- Before surfing the Internet, secure your personal computers by updating your security software. Everyone’s computer should have anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-spam software, as well as a good firewall installed.
- Keep your personal information private and your password secure. Do not respond to requests to “verify” your password or credit card information unless you initiated the contact. Legitimate businesses will not contact you in this manner.
- Beware of “bargains” from companies with whom you are unfamiliar – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Use secure websites for purchases. Look for the icon of a locked padlock at the bottom of the screen or “https” in the URL address – the “s” at the ends indicates the site is secure.
- Shop with companies you know and trust. Check for background information if you plan to buy from a new or unfamiliar company.
- Consider putting money for shopping on a re-loadable credit card for making online purchases. If your card information is compromised, thieves will access only the money on the card, not your entire bank account as they would if you were using a bank debit card.