The holiday season calls for shopping, shopping, and more shopping! If you haven’t checked everything off of your gift list yet, there’s still time to drop that extra coin for express shipping or hit your favorite mall. It’s all about convenience these days, so you can imagine our lack of surprise after finding out e-commerce will make up 18.4% of US holiday sales. After the pandemic, shoppers are becoming more and more likely to hit their mobile devices than their local gallerias during the season of giving. We love the ease that comes with online shopping, but it’s crucial to be weary of scams while getting your scroll on. Last year, thanks to swindlers lingering and plotting, Americans lost over $337 million while shopping online. Scammers are practically becoming unavoidable these days, so we’re here to dish out a few tips that will keep you and your wallet safe during this time of splurging!
1. Use Discernment When Checking Your Email
Gmail and the Mail app do a pretty good job of recognizing phishing and throwing them in your junk/spam. However, some scam emails can still slip through the cracks here and there. Being able to identify traits of a phishing email can definitely save you some money this holiday szn. A few tells of a scammer in your inbox can be grammar and spelling errors in the body text, a company having a public email address, suspicious links, and a sense of urgency in the email. If you can stay aware, you’ll be safe!
2. Do Your Research
Who doesn’t love to shop small during the holidays? While we love trying out new businesses just as much as the next person, we recommend doing your research before purchasing from somewhere new. If possible, check for reviews and feedback on previous customers. Remember: don’t trust a business just because they have a lot of followers on social media. After all, followers can be purchased. Reviews and length of time in operation are better indicators of a quality business.
3. Read Carefully
Before making a purchase, read through the company’s frequently asked questions and policies. If you’re not happy with the product, can you exchange it? How long does it take for payments to process? When will you receive your order? Answering these questions ahead of time can save you a headache down the road.
4. Keep Your Payment Info Secure
Only give your payment information to sites with an SSL certificate (which stands for Secure Sockets Layer). This adds an extra layer of security to the site to protect hackers from stealing your information.
How can you tell if a site has an SSL certificate? Look for an “s” in the address bar after “http”. Secure sites have web addresses that start with “https”, while sites lacking security just start with “http”.
5. Choose the Right Payment Method
Legitimate businesses offer payment through credit card, PayPal, Apple Pay, or pay now, pay later sites. Be wary of businesses who push cash apps like Venmo or Western Union – these are often scammers posing as businesses. Also, avoid paying for online purchases with a debit card, and always frequently check your bank account and credit card transactions to make sure there’s no suspicious purchases.
6. Be Careful Where You Shop
The holiday season is definitely a busy time, so it can be tempting to do some of your shopping while waiting in line at the coffee shop or the airport. While it’s fine to browse as much as you want, you should avoid making actual purchases on public WiFi. Shopping on WiFi is not secure and could potentially expose your payment information to hackers.
7. Trust Your Gut
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Proceed with caution when shopping outrageous sales (i.e. 80% off, etc). It may seem like a great deal, but will likely cost you more than you bargained for.
After following all of these tips, you’ll be better prepared to shop ‘til you drop. Like we said earlier, it’s not too late to hit express ship to ensure all of those gifts get here on time. We’re sure you already know Ornami products make for the perfect gift under the tree. Stay safe, be vigilant, and happy holidays!
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