Tips to Protect Your Data when Shopping Online This Holiday Season


This holiday season, more people will be shopping online, with sales projected to grow between 10.3-12.8% over last year. With more online shoppers, this also means scammers will be more active as well. According to a recent Federal Trade Commission report, online scams, especially those originating on social media, are increasing and account for $2.7 billion in reported losses since 2021.

“Now that holiday shopping is in full swing, we want to provide consumers with tips to stay safe online while buying gifts for family and friends,” said Mike Burwell, Director of Sales and Operations for UScellular in Missouri and Illinois. “UScellular wants to help customers find everything on their list, without the threat of fraud and scammers ruining their holiday spirit.”

Follow UScellular’s tips to shop reliable sites, protect passwords, and avoid seasonal scams:

●      Check your device. Before making an online purchase, make sure your smartphone, tablet or laptop has the latest security and privacy updates.

●      Monitor accounts closely. Before providing personal or financial information online, check the website’s privacy policy. Customers can also enable automated text notifications from their credit card provider at a certain spending threshold to keep track of purchases and alert banks of any suspicious activity as soon as it happens.

●      Choose strong passwords and only use them in safe places. Use multi-factor identification if possible and ensure passwords are long and complex. Never log into a bank or use a credit card while connected to public Wi-Fi, and make sure cellular devices are set to “ask” networks to join. Update passwords frequently.

●      Shop reliable sites. Use websites of retailers you know and trust. Verify that a website has a legitimate mailing address and a phone number for customer service questions. Don’t autosave credit card information, and always read the reviews of an app or website to make sure it is secure.

●      Look out for seasonal scams. Identity thieves know that shoppers may be particularly vulnerable during the holiday season. Be especially vigilant about fake promotions, pop-up ads, package tracking emails, phishing scams, e-cards, charity donation links and purchase confirmation emails. When in doubt, call the organization directly.

While not a tip for online shopping, it’s helpful to keep vigilant when expecting packages to arrive at your home. Nearly 8 in 10 Americans have had packages stolen from them in 2022, according to Forbes Home. With the increase of online shopping and deliveries, the latest Ring Video Doorbell or the Arlo Wireless Security Camera can help keep packages safe.

***Courtesy of UScellular***

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