|Attorney General Curtis Hill advises online shoppers to be alert this holiday season to the possibility that scammers and identity thieves will try to take advantage of bargain-seekers. The excitement of Cyber Monday this week creates a target-rich environment.
Be careful where you click. In fact, consider not even shopping at all via links you receive by email, social media or pop-up messages.
Instead, consider navigating first to the official websites of the trusted retailers you want to shop. Avoid brands, sellers and stores with which you are unfamiliar.
Remember that scammers often create fake websites masquerading as those belonging to well-known national brands. Telltale signs of imposters include misspellings and webpages that seem thin on information or unprofessional in appearance.
Further, follow the same safe cybersecurity practices that should be part of your year-round routines: Use strong passwords. Abstain from shopping from free wi-fi connections in public places. Make sure your desktop computers and mobile devices have the latest software updates and security features.
When paying online, make sure the website URL includes https:// rather than just “http://.” The “s” means “secure” and indicates the site uses encryption.
Shop with a credit card rather than debit card. Credit cards generally provide better protection against fraudulent charges than debit cards.
Keep track of online credit-card statements and other financial records of spending. Call your financial institution immediately if you see suspicious activity. Also save receipts and all documentation from transactions.
Overall, just remember to stay vigilant and follow best practices to protect yourself. No one wants scamming grinches stealing the fun of holiday shopping.
Hoosiers are encouraged to contact the Office of Attorney General if they believe they have been scammed. They may do so by visiting IndianaConsumer.com or calling 1-800-382-5516.