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Financial Focus

10 Tips for Safely Shopping Online During Black Friday

  1. Shop on websites you trust. Brands such as Macy's, Amazon or Target have a track record of trustworthiness. If the website is something you've heard of, it's likely a site you can trust.
  2. Avoid websites with poor or dodgy design. Sites that aren't put together well or feature suspicious design elements may pose problems. It might simply mean that the owner of the site isn't a professional or they may be a professional scammer.
  3. Look for shopping cart security & only shop on secure websites. Look for the "https" in the address bar, instead of "http." Vendors with encrypted checkout processes usually have a stamp somewhere on their site verifying their encryption technology.
  4. Beware of suspicious requests for personal information. Requests received through email are almost always phishing scams. Never follow these requests directly or click on any hyperlinks in the emails.
  5. Choose GREAT passwords and make them different for all accounts. It can be tempting to use the same password or a variation of it for all the sites you shop at, but this is just makes it easier for a hacker to get hold of your accounts.
  6. Be extra careful when shopping with your mobile device. Shoppers using cell phones and tablets are often particularly susceptible to shopping scams online. Be careful of shopping on a public network as they are unsecured, creating security vulnerabilities.
  7. Beware of social media shopping scams. Customers are often targeted on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Scammers will send you a message that looks like it comes from the social media service, but the links in the message take you to fake pages.
  8. Read reviews of products and vendors. One of the best ways to stay safe is to benefit from the experiences of others before making a purchase. It's always great to check product ratings and pay attention to who the actual seller is when purchasing on a site such as Amazon.
  9. Look for clear terms of service. If the terms are unreadable, unclear or absent altogether, choose another vendor.
  10. Contact customer service. When in doubt, contact the vendor directly. 

Happy shopping!


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