Before you click the buy button this holiday season, make sure your wallet and computer are protected with this simple checklist.
Run the latest security updates.
Check that your anti-virus/anti-spyware software is running and receiving automatic updates. If you haven’t already done so, install the latest updates.
Use only secure websites.
Look for the "lock" icon on the browser's status bar and be sure “https” appears in the website address bar before making a purchase. The "s" stands for "secure” and indicates that the webpage is encrypted.
Do not handle transactions via email.
Never email credit card or other financial/sensitive information.
Do not pay for items on public computers or public wireless.
Public computers may contain malicious software that steals your credit card information when you place your order. Criminals may be monitoring public wireless for credit card numbers and other confidential information.
Review who you are buying from.
If you haven’t purchased from the merchant before, do some research. Read reviews if they are available.
Review return policies.
Review the company’s return policies before you click the buy button. Make sure their return and customer service policies meet your expectations.
Save and print your receipts.
After you have purchased your item, save and print your receipts. Compare them in the coming days with your account balances to make sure you were billed correctly.