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The Holidays: Keeping Safe at a Busy Time

November 18, 2014 • General News

Summer is over and the the chimes of jingle bells can be heard in the distance. It’s only mid November, you say? It’s still too early to think about holiday madness! This couldn’t be further from the truth. Especially since this year we have a shortened holiday season with only 26 days between Black Friday and Christmas. In addition, many folks are starting their shopping early and using internet retailers to stockpile gifts throughout the year.

Online shopping has become increasingly popular. According to an article at www.internetretailer.com, 47% of people will shop online this year. While many shopping sites are safe and secure, it is also very important for you to remember to protect yourself while shopping online. Here are a few tips to help keep you safe as you start your online holiday shopping:

1. Only use shopping sites that are secured and trusted. Many times this can be noted simply by the company you are shopping with. For example, shopping on Walmart’s website is relatively safe in comparison to shopping on a small retail store’s website. A great way to identify the security of a site is in the web address. If the web address starts with http, then it is standard. If it starts with https, it means it typically has a higher amount of security.  In additon, look for the “Lock” in the address bar as well.  Here is an example:

2. If possible, use your credit card to make online purchases. This way, if there is a data breach and card information is stolen, there is only access to your credit card and not your primary bank account that you probably use to pay bills and live on.

3. If you do not have or want a credit card, consider opening a special “Shopping” account with a debit card. Again, this limits access to what you put in the account and keeps access to your primary funds separate.

4. Beware of false URLs. When shopping on websites, make sure that you are on the actual website that you think you are on. A common mistake is to visit www.edsretail.net, when you should be visiting www.edsretail.com. In this situation, you could put your payment and personal information into a site that is malicious.

While there are many more ways to protect yourself while shopping online, these are a few that might help over the holiday season. Your friends  at Spokane Federal Credit Union are always here to help! Give us a call at 509-328-2900 or visit us on the web at www.spokanefederal.com. We would be more than happy to assist you in preparing for your holiday shopping.

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