Safe Holiday Shopping Tips

Holiday season is upon us and safe holiday shopping should be on every one’s agenda. This is the season when people rush to the stores and the internet to shop for friends and loved ones. Unfortunately, this is also the season with the greatest opportunity for the identity theft opportunists.

During the holidays, we tend to buy many items from various sources such as stores and web sites. This is the biggest difference between holiday shopping and items we buy throughout the year without changing much our buying habits. For example, if you are a cash buyer during the year or use a certain credit card, you tend to pay cash during the holidays and use the same credit card as well. However, you tend to explore more sources during the holidays because you are looking for shopping ideas as you run out of new ones or better bargains. I certainly have fallen more in love with the internet and love to shop on line because I don’t enjoy shopping very much, I’m not a patient person, I love speed and efficiency, I appreciate service, I don’t like crowded places and long lines, and I don’t like to be disturbed and influenced by sales people. Knowing that shopping online poses a greater risk of identity theft than shopping at the stores, I’m still willing to take the extra risk to get the benefits I outlined above out of safe holiday shopping on line.

The greatest risk posed by online shopping is the fact that we can’t pay cash. That in itself is a great risk difference between shopping in the malls or stores and the internet. And since we can’t pay cash on line but would still like to get the benefits of online shopping, consider the following tips for safe holiday shopping:

-Have a general idea of what you want to buy and create a list of items you are looking to buy. This not only will save you hours of internet surfing but also keep your focus on your purchase objective and reduce impulse shopping which is something that will happen if you don’t set an objective from the beginning.

-Consolidate your shopping. Once you have a prepared list with a general idea of what you want to buy, you can look for a site that offers the majority of the items you are looking for. By consolidating you shopping, you buy most of your items on the list from one or fewer sources, therefore, you save on shipping costs since most places charge a minimum shipping fee, you get a discount for spending more at the same site or even get free shipping, and, you share less of your personal information like your name, address and credit card data.

-Use the same credit card for all your shopping. Find a credit card that you like in terms of its advantages such as purchase protection or rebates, and use it for all your shopping. This will make sure you don’t increase your risk of identity theft by sharing more about yourself and your identity components like other credit cards you may own.

-Lastly, shop from a company site you can trust. An e-commerce site should be properly secured and take all necessary steps to stop a client’s personal information from being compromised during the entire purchasing cycle.

If you’re not like me and love to shop at the crowded malls and stores during the holiday season, that’s fine but make sure you apply the safe holiday shopping tips and get out there with a pre-planned list of items you want to buy, pay cash if you can, don’t carry all your credit cards in your wallet or purse, choose your best credit card and use it for all your shopping, and buy as many of the items listed on your list from one source.

Return to the identity theft prevention section from safe holiday shopping.

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