NOV 27, 2013
Americans are forecast to spend as much as $82 billion shopping online this holiday season, the National Retail Federationâ€™s Shop.org predicts. That kind of volume means a lot of financial and personal information will be flying through the ether. If youâ€™ll be shopping online for holiday gifts, are you doing everything you can to protect your identity?
Here are the four top things you can do to safeguard your identity while shopping online:
1. Consider using a credit card â€“ While it may be tempting to use a debit card or directly have money taken from your bank account in order to avoid interest charges, consider using a credit card for added security. Credit cards offer a layer of consumer protection that debit cards donâ€™t always provide. If youâ€™re concerned about interest, be sure to pay the entire bill as soon as the statement arrives.
2. Always try to shop securely â€“ Make youâ€™re shopping on websites with clear security measures in place, including URLs that start with â€œhttpsâ€ and a padlock symbol near the bottom of the page. Avoid sites with questionable security, or online sellers that donâ€™t provide a phone number, physical address or other means of communication if you have a problem.
3. Be careful of charity solicitations â€“ That email asking you to click through and donate to a worthy cause may not always be legit. To donate safely online, go to the website of the charity of your choice â€“ one whose reputation you’ve already vetted â€“ and donate through their secure system. Better yet, mail a check; snail mail is still one of the safest ways to donate money.
4. Check your credit report â€“ Before, during and after the holiday season, review your credit report and score. Often, itâ€™s the first place an instance of fraud or identity theft will show up. Catching identity theft early can help you mitigate the damages and recover quickly.
This article is provided for general guidance and information. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal or financial issues involved with credit decisions.
Published by permission from ConsumerInfo.com, Inc.Â Â© 2013 ConsumerInfo.com, Inc.Â All rights reserved.