Holiday shopping online is one of our annual rituals, at least for a portion of the gifts we want to buy, but with COVID making in-person shopping too risky, a much larger percentage of us are likely to shop online. That’s what the scammers and thieves are hoping, anyway. The biggest threat this year is likely to be emails.
You’ll often receive an email from the retailer saying your purchase has been shipped, and there might be a link in the email about that delivery. Beware clicking it. It could be a scammer hoping to install malware on your computer to capture any future credit card or account numbers you type in. Or they might ask you outright to type in personal information such as your name and credit card number.
Instead of clicking any link in any email supposedly from a retailer, go to the merchant’s website to look for information on your purchase or call them directly. Take the phone number from your bill or their website, not from any email.
You might also receive emails about items you didn’t order and worry that your account has been hacked. Again, that is one way for the scammers to get you to click a link. Don’t do it. Call the merchant instead.
Just ordering online isn’t the end of your steps to being safe. There are the porch pirates, those awful people who dash up to the house and steal packages right at the door. They often follow delivery trucks to see where the parcels are being left. Keep an eye out for your delivery. Or track it online.
A final warning: Merchants often ask you to download their app to make purchases. You don’t have to. You can still make online purchases without adding yet another potentially unsecure form of communication.
(c) 2020 King Features Syndicate, Inc.