Online Shopping Safety

The holiday shopping season is right around the corner, and shopping online can be great for finding great sales and avoiding the crowds.
November 2, 2013 5:27:24 AM PDT
The holiday shopping season is right around the corner, and shopping online can be great for finding great sales and avoiding the crowds.

But it also poses traps, including identity theft. Joan Jensen, CEO and president of Central Credit Union of Illinois came into our ABC 7 Eyewitness News studio to share tips for shopping smart.

Joan's Tips:
1. Don't Blind Date Online Vendors
- Don't let a search engine set you up for a relationship with a vendor. If you are searching for an item and comparison-shopping, use Amazon or PriceGrabber to find items and compare prices.
- Don't click on unsolicited e-mails or texts. If you are interested in an item, get the web address from a trusted source and type the address in yourself.

2. Don't Show Them Your Money
- Never wire money, mail a check, or send a money order to pay for an item. You have no way to get your money back if your purchase never arrives.
- Credit cards beat debit cards for online purchases. If your debit card information is breached, your checking account could be drained until your case is investigated.
- For online activity use one card. Limit exposure to fraud by using only one card for all online activity.
- Use trusted third parties as your agent. Minimize how many vendors have your card information. Only use secure sites with an address beginning with https.
- Monitor your accounts frequently.

3. Keep Your Relationship Private
- Say NO to public Wi-Fi connections.
- Protect your computer from Malware. Malware, short for malicious software, is software used to gather sensitive information about a person without their knowledge, including Internet surfing habits, user logins, and bank or credit account information. Visit download.cnet.com or PCMag.com to upload free anti-malware.