With holiday shopping in full force, it's easy to get tricked into a scam. As we know, not everything on the Internet is as it seems and many links can lead to websites with malware that can steal your information. Here are a few tips on how to shop smartly and avoid getting scammed:
1. Be Smart When Downloading Apps on your Phone
There are probably millions of apps available on the App Store and Google Play Store, but many of them are designed to steal your information. Before you download an app, research the company that published the app and see what others are saying.
2. Be Careful when Buying Gift Cards
Surprisingly, gift cards are also vulnerable to hackers and thieves. Scammers will actually go into retail stores and take the information from gift cards and redeem the money once someone purchases the card. Basically, they steal the money from your gift card after you purchase it. From experience, most retailers do not provide refunds on gift cards, so it will be very difficult to get your money back.
3. Avoid Getting Scammed on Social Media
Unfortunately, social media can be a hive for online scams. Often times, a page will appear to offer a gift card or voucher that is aimed at stealing your information. Usually, these sites will lead you to a survey and force you to give your personal information to redeem the offer.
4. Avoid Fake Charities
Unfortunately, online scammers also like to take advantage of people by posing as a charity in an attempt to steal money. Before you donate to a charity online, it's important to extensively research the charity and its website.
5. Holiday Job Scams
During the holidays, a lot of people are looking for some extra money to shop for holiday gifts. Around this time, a lot of jobs pop-up on sites like Indeed, Monster, and Craigslist that aren't actually real jobs. These jobs are designed to get you to give the company money upfront. Never apply to a job or give them your information if they require you to give them money.
Here are a few tips on how to shop smartly this holiday season:
1. Do your research and investigate a company or website before making a purchase.
2. Don't click on suspicious links or ads.
3. Check your credit card statements to make sure your activity looks normal.
Sources: New Jersey Cyber Security, Forbes, AARP