Shopping online? Be careful

Published 11:40 am Thursday, November 23, 2023

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By Annie Bresee

Shopping online during the holiday season has increased since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020. According to a yearly survey conducted by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insight & Analytics consumer projection, online shopping will be the number one holiday shopping destination in 2023 with 58% of consumers planning to do their holiday shopping that way.

Adobe Analytics similarly put out a forecast for this year’s holiday spending. They expect Cyber Week, the period including Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, to see 16.8% of all holiday shopping, with Cyber Monday being the biggest day for shopping.

With this high consumer traffic comes some safety concerns for shopper’s cybersecurity. With so many people putting their personal information to purchase items online, scams and identity theft are a risk.

Stewart Smith of the Troup County Sheriff’s Office gave some tips for consumers when online shopping:

-Stick to trusted retailers and sellers: Whether it is the large marketplaces or smaller independent sellers, be sure the company you are buying from is legitimate.

-Protect your personal information: If you are unfamiliar with the company you are buying from, be wary of giving out your personal financial information.

-Consider using a credit card to shop: Instead of a debit card that is attached to your bank information, credit cards are the safer option when online shopping. Credit cards can also be locked down quicker than your bank account if your information is stolen.

Smith warns says his office sees an uptick in phone call scams. These can be anything from callers saying you have won the lottery to callers claiming to be tax officials or from a publishing clearing house. Just like with websites, make sure you can trust them before giving out any personal information.