University of Wisconsin–Madison
Holiday Online Shopping

Tips for safer online holiday shopping

The National Retail Federation expects online shopping to increase by 11-14% to between $162.6 billion and $166.9 billion this year. That much money being spent online creates a huge incentive to those who want to make easy money by defrauding others.  Here’s a list of tips to help you stay safe online:

Beware of frauds and scams, including but not limited to phishing attempts. These tend to peak around the holidays. Be wary of too-good-to-be-true offers via email or pop-up ads, particularly those that prompt you to act immediately.

Use a safe form of payment. Usually, this means a credit card because of the consumer protections most card issuers offer. Avoid wire transfers, and never send cash by mail.

Keep a record of your purchases, and check your credit card statement against it. Investigate, and if necessary, promptly challenge any apparently fraudulent claims.

Protect your privacy online. Provide only the information necessary to complete the transaction and arrange for delivery. Read the vendor’s privacy policy to see how your data will be stored and used.

Make sure the site is secure. Check that the URL to the check out page begins with HTTPS, or that your browser’s secure connection padlock icon appears.

Secure your home WiFi access point, and never shop over an unsecured, public access point.

Keep your device’s OS patched and up to date. Also use anti-virus and malware protection, and keep it updated too.

Enjoy the convenience of online shopping, but also remember to be safe! For further information, check out these sources: