PALMDALE – December is here and many will begin holiday shopping, with thousands preferring to shop online due to the added convenience. Shopping online is ideal when trying to avoid long lines and crowds; but there are people online waiting to take advantage of you, warns the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station.
Local law enforcement officials have issued the following online shopping safety tips to keep residents from falling victim to identity theft or internet-scams:
Shop only at well-established online stores. You can learn a lot about the store by reading the comments and feedback from other customers.
When paying, make sure the website address begins with https. The “s” at the end means it is secure and the website encrypts your information.
Look for the padlock icon in the browser bar. If the padlock icon appears on the webpage but not in the browser bar, it might be a graphic a cyber-criminal embedded to trick you into thinking the website is secure.
Use a credit card instead of a debit card for online purchases. Most credit cards offer better protection against unauthorized purchases.
DO NOT exchange personal information in exchange for prizes or special offers. It may be a trick to get you to give away sensitive information.
Ignore pop-up messages while on shopping sites. Set up your browser to block pop-up messages.
Be careful when using public WiFi networks. The safest public networks are those where you have to type in a password.
Read the company’s return policy before purchasing an item you are unsure about.
Before finalizing your purchase calculate the total price of your purchase. Sometimes there are unexpected taxes, handling and shipping fees you may not be aware of.
Avoid shopping in stores outside the United States. If you have an issue with the purchased item, it can be difficult to return or exchange or even resolve other disputes.
Monitor your monthly statements to make sure there are no unauthorized purchases. If you find unauthorized charges, contact your bank or the credit card company immediately.
For more information on online holiday shopping safety, visit www.staysafeonline.org. If you have any questions or concerns, call the Palmdale Sheriff Station at 661-272-2400 or email Deputy Jodi Wolfe at firstname.lastname@example.org.