State Attorney Phil Archer Offers Brevard Consumers Safe Holiday Online Shopping Tips
By State Attorney Phil Archer // November 6, 2016
SENIORS easy targets for fraud, Identity theft
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Online shopping has taken over the consumer world and completely transformed the way that companies do business and how shoppers purchase goods. However, with that convenience and accessibility comes the potential for increased risk.
Adults in their golden years did not grow up with the Internet so they have been easy targets for fraud and identity theft mostly because they are so trusting or simply misinformed about how to safely shop online. Fortunately, there are many easy steps you can take to ensure your peace of mind.
Shop from secure retailers only. Shop online from websites that begin with https rather than just “http.” The “s” means secure and those sites have an added layer of data protection to ensure your information is transmitted directly to the retailer.
Use a credit card to shop online, not a debit card. When you use a credit card, you essentially are spending the bank’s money–not your own, as you are with a debit card-meaning that banks will likely fight fraudulent charges more aggressively.
Buy from secure companies that require a CVC code during checkout. Companies that require the three or four digit code on the back of your credit card often have higher fraud-control policies and typically work with payment processors that have stringent fraud-protection control.
Protect access to your credit card information. Don’t allow anyone other than immediate, trusted family members to make purchases on your behalf using your credit/debit card. Don’t send or store credit card information via emails or on unprotected sites.
Set up spending alerts. A great way to reduce your risk of online shopping fraud is to set spending alerts on your credit card. Consider setting up an email or text alert to notify you when more than $500 is spent at any particular store or online site, so you are aware of any large purchases that are made instantly. Most banks have this easy to set-up feature.
Avoid making any purchases from pop-up windows or emails. Visit store sites directly for products you’re interested in. A common scam involves placing links into emails that appear to click through to shopping sites. You find out they are fraudulent after submitting your payment information and will never receive the items you ordered.
Avoid giving out your Social Security number unless absolutely necessary. Banks, utility companies and health care providers might need this number but make sure you are the one initiating the request that warrants the SSN request.
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