By: Value News | Category: Financial Services | Issue: December 2013
Shopper Tammy White says to use caution when buying online.
Technology is a beautiful thing, especially during the holidays when I can choose to avoid the stress of a crowded mall and do my holiday shopping online in the quiet comfort of my own home (in my PJs, if I want). Shopping online has its perks, online specials, doorstep delivery. But, it’s important to remember to shop with caution.
RCB Bank employee Tammy White also enjoys online shopping for its convenience and the ability to comparison shop for the lowest prices. At the same time, she exercises due diligence as a consumer to help ensure she and her money are protected. Here are some of her online safe practices.
Always make sure the website is legit.
“One of the best ways to know who you are really dealing with is to scroll over the web address and make sure it doesn’t change to a different company,” said White. “Also check for secure-locked sites. I only shop at stores that are well known, like Amazon.com or Wal-Mart, and I tell my sons if they’ve never ordered from a particular site to Google it first and see what others are saying about the site.”
RCB Bank adds: Be very cautious of emails and texts claiming to be from merchants even if you recently purchased from them. Fraudsters are professionals and design very convincing documents. Log in to the merchant’s official site to read communications regarding your purchases.
Use one credit card.
“I stick to one major credit card so I don’t have to remember how I paid,” White said. “This way, I have one statement to look at, one account to monitor and one company to call if there is a problem.”
RCB Bank adds: Consider getting a prepaid VISA card to use for online shopping. Not only can you set a holiday budget and put only that amount of money on the card, it will protect your debit card (check card), which is tied directly to your bank account, from online hackers. Be sure to ask your bank about any fees or hidden charges that may be associated with a prepaid VISA card.
Monitor your statements.
“When you order online, you automatically get a confirmation email,” White said. “I love this, as it normally has a tracking number on it. I do my part to keep on top of my account and make sure I am only charged what I am supposed to. I can’t count on the company to watch out for me. I am one customer; they have thousands.”
RCB Bank adds: Many online merchants will ask you to store your card information and its security features (such as the CVV code or expiration date) to save time on your next purchase. This is not a good idea since someone could use your card if they obtain the credentials you use to make online purchases with the merchant. Monitor your bank account transactions regularly and report any unauthorized or suspicious activity to your bank or credit card company immediately. Track packages from official sites like UPS.com or FedEx.com. Do not click on messages sent via email or text. Clicking on links can put your money and your identity in danger.
Set a spending limit.
“It is easy to shop online and get carried away,” said White. “Remember you still have to pay the bill when it comes.”
To learn more about Internet security and fraud awareness, you can call RCB Bank at 855-BANK-RCB. Our fraud department is happy to answer any questions you may have.
For more information, contact