Safe Holiday Shopping

With the new age of holiday shopping upon us, it is important that you know how to stay safe online and while shopping. First let’s go over some online shopping tips that can prevent you from having information stolen.

Make sure to shop on familiar websites, avoid links that you do not recognize and avoid websites with mostly negative reviews. A website can look professional and legitimate, but it could be a phishing site to steal your information. How do you know which sites to trust?

When searching for a store’s site, ensure the URL (website address) matches the name exactly. For example, I searched for INW Insurance. One result (below) indicates INW Insurance Group in the description, however the URL indicates a Yahoo site.

Always look closely at the description and be wary of search results that have “Ad” in front of them. To ensure you are on a secure site to shop, make certain the site address begins with “HTTPS” versus just “HTTP”. At the top of the page where the URL is, be a lock symbol, the word “secure” or the address bar will be green, depending on the browser used. If the site is not secure, then reconsider inputting payment information.

What about store shopping? Use the following tips to stay safe while out. Shop during the day as much as possible and avoid secluded parking areas, especially at night. Park close to the door where it is busy and well lit.Do not wear flashy jewelry or carry an expensive hand bag as this will gain attention from crooks.

Note where you parked as to avoid wandering when returning to your vehicle. As you are walking to your vehicle, remain observant and not distracted by a cell phone. Have your keys in hand with a finger on the panic button. Be aware of cars parked close to you, large trucks or vans next to you, vehicles with dark tint, or someone sitting in a car next to yours. It may be safer to go back inside and ask to be escorted to your vehicle.

Once in your vehicle, lock your doors and leave. No phone calls, texts, or radios station searches. Burglars often use the time when you first enter your vehicle to their advantage.

Please be safe whether on line or out at the stores.