Monday, November 26, 2018

Cyber safety

Are You Safe to Shop Online this Holiday Season?

Cyber shopping is all the rage these days. I worked in retail for 15 years so I would rather shop online than ever go into another store! Nearly 25% of online buying occurs between Nov. 1 and Dec 31. It is convenient to shop online, but there are risks (of course there are!)

Hidden fees

  Many retailers will claim free shipping, then tell you it is only after your spend a specific dollar amount.  Or they add in "extras" like the software to run the laptop. 

Counterfeit items

   It is rather easy to put items for sale online now. Everyone is doing it! Just because you see it on the internet does not mean it is real. Remember if the price seems too good to be true- it probably is! Shop for specific brands on their own site.

Shipping issues

   One time my sister in law ordered my niece's entire Christmas online and nothing showed up before Christmas! I ordered a laptop one time that just never came in. (after 3 phone calls they finally refunded my money!)

Identity theft

   Did you know if someone steals your debit card number, they can empty your bank account in record time? I have had people open credit cards in my name, take loans out in my name. These scams can be hard to fight (and prove!).

Fake reviews

   If a site has all 5 Star reviews, be wary. No one has a perfect score when it comes to public opinion. Even the best of sites has upset some customer at some time. If it looks perfect- I would guess they are padding their reviews.

So what can you do to protect yourself and still shop from home? 

* Shop at websites you know and trust- check to see if it is a secure website. If it is secure the URL will begin with https, not http. 
* Avoid using public wi-fi (identity theft!)
* Create strong passwords - many sites will tell you if you password is strong. Do not use obvious passwords like your birthday, your child's name or your pet's name. You might want to see if a Password Manager is something that would work for you.
* Beware of sites with deals that look too good to be true.
* Be wary of third party sites. 
* Pay by credit card online- not by debit card.
* Check out a company's social media to see if it is real, engaging and what its customers have to say.
* Research the company before you buy from it. Make sure it's been around a while.
* Keep/print receipts. Pay attention to your statements. Verify you accept all of the charges on a timely basis so you can dispute fraudulent charges quickly.

Be smart- if a site gives you an unsure feeling, move onto another site. Ask family and friends who may have ordered from a site you are looking at about their experience. Online shopping is convenient, until it's not. Be careful and pay attention to the possible risks!

There are three ways to request a quote for your insurance needs: 
* Visit our website
* Call Brockman Premier Insurance  877-987-8683  

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