Physical health and safety has been top-of-mind when out shopping this year. While it’s smart to continue to use contactless payments at the store, don’t forget the basics about protecting your money when shopping, no matter where you are.
P2P apps such as PayPal and Venmo are easy to use and contactless, but don’t let your guard down in the name of convenience. Always verify that you are paying the right person before hitting “send.” There may be no recourse if you pay the wrong person.
Don’t pay until you receive
While it can be a good idea to buy and sell using online marketplaces, policies and protection vary between sites. When buying from individuals, if the marketplace does not provide buyer guarantees or protection against scams, don’t pay until you receive the goods. This may mean doing things the old-fashioned way: meeting in person to inspect and receive the product, and paying in cash or via P2P once you’ve confirmed that you’re getting what you’re paying for. If you or the seller are not comfortable with this, it’s best to buy elsewhere.
If your credit card offers digital banking card controls, familiarize yourself with them. Card control features such as “lock” and “unlock” can come in handy if you misplace your card or if you detect suspicious transactions.
Look for the “S” in HTTPS
Check to see that the website has an “s” at the end of the “https” URL. That “s” stands for “secure” and ensures the website you’re shopping from is only being looked at by the intended recipient (the shopping website) and the information you input is not floating around in cyberspace.
Protect your passwords
Never allow your internet browser to save your password. Sure, it's convenient, especially when you consider how many times you’ll probably end up entering it over and over again. And if your password is incredibly complex, just trying to remember it can seem like a chore. However, by saving your passwords you’ve now made them that much more vulnerable to be stolen, as well as allowing anyone who has access to your computer the ability to basically bypass your account login. Use a secure password app instead.
Check your statements
It’s one of those things everyone knows they should do, like drinking enough water each day. Yet not all of us do. Reviewing your account statements is a simple way to catch fraud quickly. If you do find discrepancies within your statement, contact your financial institution and/or credit card company right away. In addition to periodically reviewing your statements, sign up to receive account alerts via email, text, or push notifications on your mobile device.