CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – This holiday shopping season is already making history, with spending projected to reach the $1 trillion threshold, much in thanks to the growing online shopping industry.
Retail analyst eMarketer estimates that on Cyber Monday alone, spending will surpass $10 billion. With more retailers participating in Cyber Monday and extending their Black Friday deals to websites and apps, the Holiday 2019 Consumer Trends Report anticipates almost 75% of consumers using smart devices to complete their holiday shopping.
To keep consumers safe and the holiday season full of cheer, the South Carolina Department of Revenue teamed up with cyber-security leader Symantec to bring you some online shopping tips:
• Only shop at trusted websites. If you find a gift at a price that sounds too good to be true, it may be. Some sites exist just to collect credit card information and offer rock-bottom prices to lure shoppers.
• Don’t use public Wi-Fi when shopping. Cyber thieves like public Wi-Fi because they can intercept shoppers’ signals and collect credit card information and other personal data, like names and addresses. Consider installing a VPN, which creates a secure connection to shield you from hackers.
• Use strong passwords or passphrases. Use a complex set of at least 10 lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, symbols, or random words and numbers. Don’t use personal information others can guess such as your kids’ names or birthdays. Never use one password for multiple accounts.
• Use secure websites. Ensure the URL begins with “https” and includes a padlock symbol before providing your credit card information.
• Use credit, not debit cards. You get the best liability protection when you use a credit card. Federal regulations say you don’t have to pay if a cyber thief racks up unauthorized charges while the credit card company investigates. Most credit card companies offer $0 liability for fraudulent purchases. Some banks offer virtual credit cards, which use randomly issued numbers to link to your account.
• Make sure your computer is protected. Always keep your security software, apps, and computer’s operating system updated for maximum protection.
• Save your records. This includes receipts, warranties, cancellation policies, order confirmations, and delivery details. Check your bank statements for unusual charges. Report any fraudulent activity immediately to your bank or card issuer.