Shopping online is a good way to find bargains, compare prices, and save money. And it’s very convenient at this busy time of the year. Unfortunately, as more of us go online, so do the scammers. Here are six simple ways to shop safely online:
1. Research the name of the retailer online to make sure they’re legitimate and have little or no negative comments about them. You can find reviews readily on Amazon, or type the name of the company plus the word “reviews” into a search
2. Make sure the website is secure.
- There should be a padlock in the address bar next to the website address.
- The website address should start with https://. The "s" after “http” stands for secure.
- On certain browsers and websites, the address bar will turn green if it’s secure.
- If you click the padlock symbol or just to the left of the address bar, you should see information on the site’s certificate. This should tell you who has registered the site. If you get a warning, avoid the website.
3. Understand the company’s returns policy. If they don’t have a returns policy, that’s suspicious. Knowing what the policy is will help you if something isn’t delivered or arrives broken, even if the seller
wasn’t trying to scam you.
4. Keep software and virus protection up-to-date. Always choose strong passwords for your online accounts, using a combination of upper case, lower case, numbers, and special characters. Using a phrase or sentence is good practice.
5. When shopping online, don’t use public Wi-Fi in coffee shops, shopping centers, or hotels. Public Wi-Fi is often unsecure, which means any information you send while connected to these networks can be accessed by fraudsters. Using your own
mobile data is more secure than public Wi-Fi.
6. Pay using an RCU credit card. At RCU, you have zero liability for fraudulent charges, which means if you didn’t authorize it, you don’t pay. You can set up text and email alerts for any type of transaction or amount on both debit and credit cards to help us take fast action in the case of a fraudulent charge.
With a little careful planning, your holiday season will remain one of only joy. Be smart, be cautious, and know that RCU has your back if you need us. For more information, visit redwoodcu.org/security.