Safe Online Holiday Shopping

By: Elizabeth Donatelli Email
By: Elizabeth Donatelli Email

November 30, 2006

Cyber Monday kicked off the holiday online shopping season, one that could reach record numbers of shoppers, but online shopping may not be as safe and easy as you think.

Walmart.com unveiled it's new website on cyber Monday, offering 50 online specials. Bluenile.com sent emails offering 10 percent discounts to customers. Overstock.com gave free shipping.

"It's so much easier and faster to shop online and have them ship right to your door," said Marty Peterman, UVa IT Security Specialist.

JupiterResearch predicts an 18 percent increase for online sales to $32 billion, but with all this clicking and purchasing--more people are likely to become victims of credit card fraud and identity theft.

"You don't want to go to any sites that look suspicious from the outset, that aren't a brand or site that you recognize. If any window pops up or you see any field that asks for personal information like your social security number, you don't want to put it in," said Peterman.

Some sites have added security, marked by the "s" in https or lock in the corner. Even so, Peterman suggests using a credit card over a check card because credit card companies look for suspicious purchases and will more often reimburse. Also, many have another special feature.

"They'll issue a one time use number. It's the same as your credit card number, but it can only be used for one purpose, one use, one time, for one product," said Peterman.

It's also a good idea to shop in you own home and on a secure wireless network.


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