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Holiday Shopping: Stay Alert, Even At Home

holiday shopping, wrapped giftHoliday Shopping From Home: Watch Out For Virtual Purse-snatchers 

The weather has started to turn, and with the season change comes the holiday shopping. Pre-pandemic, people looked forward to these sales for weeks, especially Black Friday. As we reach the end of 2021, it’s clear that most places won’t have hundreds of people lined up for doorbusters this year.

Like so many other things, we are tackling our holiday shopping from home. Granted, Internet shopping was already on the rise – a lot of people gave up waiting in the cold. This surge in online sales opens up a lot of security issues that could make that discount cost you so much more.

We all need to be alert and avoid handing out our information in the spirit of giving. This time of year is when you’ll see hot items you want at their most affordable prices, and like any large scale event, this is where the hackers and scammers will prey on our wants and goodwill.

What To Watch Out For

Shipping is heavily delayed for normal things, so it’s easy to get excited by something special. Don’t let your guard down. Make sure you’re not giving away your information for a product that might not exist. Stick to credible retailers, and if something seems too good to be true, follow your gut.

Another common tactic is scammers asking for payment in the form of gift cards, which should set off some alarms. You shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to pay for something. 

Be careful about donations to charity too. Again, in this time of giving, letting your guard down may lead to giving your money to someone running a scam. They may be a made-up charity or might be pocketing the donations to a cause. Only donate to reputable charities, preferably directly to them. 

Finally, do not take shipping notices, updates, or questions at face value. A common scam is sending a delivery confirmation or notification this time of year with very little detail. As people keep buying so many items online, they see it as just another message and “confirm” an order or payment that was never made. With little effort, you given someone malicious an easy way to take from you before you realize anything has happened.

I love the holidays and the great feelings associated with it. It is easy to get lost in the sharing and shopping, but make sure you are aware of those around you and do not put yourself in a position to have your data, identity, money, or good spirit taken because you want to save a few dollars.

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