shutterstock_539756680As the holidays approach, scammers are preparing new ways to take advantage of the shopping season. CMIT Solutions has collected tips on how local residents can protect themselves against the most common shopping scams this time of year.

From deceptive advertisements to email phishing, malicious digital e-cards, and more, the holiday season is a popular time for scammers to manipulate and deceive consumers. As hackers employ more advanced methods of obtaining personal information, their tactics continue to evolve. To help prevent local residents from falling victim to the latest scams, here is a list of the top tips to protect against online shopping fraud.

  • Steer clear of fake shopping apps. Scammers have developed new shopping apps that ask to store credit card information, which can be used to make illegitimate purchases or can be sold on the black market by hackers moving stolen records.
  • Only shop on secure websites. Check that the website has “https,” not just “http,” in the URL — the “s” signifies an enhanced level of security that protects the transmission of private information on the Internet. Avoid shopping through websites that don’t have security features like this in place.
  • Be wary of deals that look “too good.” Scammers use websites, online ads, and emails offering free or heavily discounted goods to try and obtain private information. Never click on any links associated with these emails or ads.
  • Keep personal information private. Never provide banking or Social Security information if prompted by an online advertisement, social media request, or email.
  • Delete e-cards from unknown senders. E-cards are usually a nice gesture, but only open them from known senders. Virus-infected e-cards are very common this time of year.
  • Use credit cards. Complete all online and in-store shopping transactions with a credit card as this limits personal liability in the case that you fall victim to a scam or your data gets stolen.

Understanding the most common online shopping scams that target consumers this time of year can keep confidential information safe and give everyone peace of mind. Staying informed on the latest tactics that scammers are using to take advantage of online shoppers can prevent a lot of unnecessary stress during the holiday season.

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