Contributed by: Nicholas Boguth
Tis’ the holiday season, which means plenty of online shopping for a lot of us. For those of you who have been or will be online shopping for the holidays, we want you to take special care to avoid attempted fraud.
Most of these online shopping scams will come through your email in the form of a fake offer, receipt, or shipping notice.
The most important thing is to avoid clicking on anything that seems out of the ordinary, and if you get an offer that seems too good to be true – it probably is. You may also see these “too good to be true” offers on social media, and they could even look like a friend shared it with you. In these cases, do some research before clicking, and avoid filling out personal information on non-reputable websites.
Protect yourself by shopping with a credit card; it is easier to deal with fraud if you ever do fall victim.
If you are emailed a receipt or shipping notice for something that you did not purchase, do not click the email. Instead, check your credit card transactions to see if this purchase actually did happen. If it did happen, contact your credit card company immediately to report the fraud.
This is also a good time to remind everyone to periodically change your passwords for online accounts, and be sure to use different passwords for different accounts. If possible, only shop at well-known online stores, or retailers that you have had success with in the past. Be on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary. If you do come across something you believe to be fraudulent, report it to the FBI’s internet crime complaint center (https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx).
Keep these tips in mind and happy holiday shopping!
Nicholas Boguth is an Investment Research Associate at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.® and an Investment Representative with Raymond James Financial Services.
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