The Ping: Online Shopping and the Holiday Season

As the holidays draw close, and the stores get more and more crowded, shopping online may seem like the best solution. And for some, shopping online always seems like the solution! So to help protect yourself all while avoiding the congestion, UniVista has put together some helpful tips to protect yourself in any shopping season.  

Should I Buy Online 

Before purchasing from a website because it has the best deal, make sure to research their credibility. Some scammers will list fake discounts to obtain peoples’ credit card information when they attempt to make a purchase. You should still make sure that the site itself is valid. 

  • UniVista suggests only shopping through trusted websites. 
    • One thing to look for is at the top of the webpage, in the address bar, a small padlock will appear on a protected site. Website addresses that use https:// (versus http://) are considered secure because the interaction with the site is encrypted. It does not always mean the site is safe however, just that the connection to the site is secure. 
  • Look to see if the domain is spelled correctly. 
  • If you don’t feel safe – LEAVE the site! 
  • Learn more tips on National Cybersecurity Alliance’s article – Online Holiday Shopping

I Love to Purchase Online 

Purchasing gifts and other items online is an easy way avoid the holiday traffic. This might be a convenient way for you to do the majority of your shopping. UniVista believes these helpful hints will keep you safe before and after you make any purchases.  

  • Passwords: make them complex and change them often! 
    • If you feel that you’ve compromised an account while shopping online, CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD IMMEDIATELY!  
    • Check out The Ping: Security In Public Places for more password tips. 
  • Only purchase/download apps from your manufacturer’s designated “store”.  
    • This is particularly important for Android, as Apps can be installed by clicking internet links. If you want to use an app, search for it in Google Play. 
    • Don’t reuse passwords for multiple apps! 
  • Use multi-factor authentication for apps that contain sensitive information.  
  • Don’t access confidential information on a public WiFi. Consider a personal VPN if you will often be connected to public WiFi hot spots.  
  • UniVista thinks checking your bank statements regularly will help you find out quickly whether or not your account has been compromised.

Shipping Gifts 

We’ve all heard about the increased rate at which packages are being stolen off of people’s front porches in the past couple of years. These “porch pirates” drive around neighborhoods looking for packages that they can quickly grab and go. Here are a few ways you can keep your packages from falling victim: 

  • Amazon Lockers – When making your purchase on Amazon, look for the nearest Amazon locker instead of using your home address. You can go and pick up your items using a provided key code. 
  • Amazon Key – Sign up for Amazon Key. The key kit’s price starts at around $250, but it gives you a smart key and a security camera that allows the Amazon delivery driver to leave your packages just inside your door. 
  • Buy online & Pickup in Store – Many businesses will now give you the option of purchasing an item and picking it up in store.  
  • Learn more at The Ping: Staying Safe in the Holiday Season 

Using or losing a credit card… 

When making your purchases, use a credit card with fraud protection. Keep an eye on your account and report any fraudulent charges quickly! According to Federal Law“your liability for unauthorized use of your credit card tops out at $50. However, if you report the loss before your credit card is used, the FCBA says you are not responsible for any charges you didn’t authorize. If your credit card number is stolen, but not the card, you are not liable for unauthorized use.” If you use a debit card, your liability depends on how soon you report the fraud and could be a lot higher.  PayPal offers an alternate payment method, rather than inputting your credit card numbers into a seller’s site directly. It also offers a nice return policy for eligible items purchased through them. “Return shipping on us to get refunded for up to $30 on 12 eligible purchases a year.” – PayPal

For more helpful hints, take a look at The Ping: Staying Safe In The Holiday Season. As always, let us know if you have any questions!  

Happy Holidays from Your UniVista Team
*Celebrating 20+ Years of Customer Satisfaction*