With the holidays quickly approaching, many of you will be moving into gift shopping mode. Chances are, you might be doing a good portion of your holiday shopping over the internet. Emarket, an independent market research company, predicts U.S. web shoppers will spend approximately 61.8 billion dollars during November and December of this year. Internet criminals are undoubtedly preparing for this prime opportunity. Listed below are some helpful tips as you contemplate those internet purchases.
- Never enter your credit card information on a page that is not encrypted (when using the seller’s online checkout process, make sure the web address has “https” instead of “http”).
- Never give your social security number or birthday to any online retailer.
- Whenever possible, use a credit card for payment (inquire if your card issuer offers a virtual credit card service).
- Go directly to the seller’s website rather than clicking a link that was sent to you by an unknown source.
- Check the seller’s customer satisfaction rating.
- Check the Better Business Bureau website (www.bbb.org) to see if the seller has a large amount complaints filed against them.
- Research the seller’s physical address.
Once those internet purchases are made, it’s still time to keep your guard up. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service reports that some customers are receiving sham emails about package delivery or online postage charges. These emails contain a link or attachment that, when opened, installs a malicious virus that can steal personal information from your computer. To avoid becoming a victim of identity theft, simply delete the message without taking any further action.
From the men and women of the Gates Mills Police Department, we wish each of you a peaceful and reflective Thanksgiving.
Until next month – Proud to Serve…Sworn to Protect
Yours in Service,
Ronald L. Whitmer
Chief of Police