A growing number of consumers will avoid the hustle and bustle at traditional brick-and-mortar stores this holiday season and shop from the comfort of their own home via the Internet.
One of the biggest shopping days of the year has become known as Cyber Monday. According to a report published on the Collinsville News, this year, shoppers are expected to spend $2.27 billion, which is up 15 percent from 2012, according to the Adobe Digital Index 2013 Online Shopping Forecast.
With the holiday shopping season about to begin, the Oklahoma Society of Certified Public Accountants reveals five mistakes to avoid.
Mistake #1: Taking a chance on unknown retailers.
If you don't buy from a well-known company, or one with which you've already done business, take some precautions to ensure you can be confident of a reliable transaction. Be sure the company lists an address and phone number.
Mistake #2: Opening unknown email links.
Don't click on links in unsolicited emails or social media sites, even if they purport to be from trustworthy retailers, because they may take you to sites that are trying to collect information for identity theft. Never divulge personal information—including your credit card or bank account numbers or your Social Security number—in response to an email or text message.
Mistake #3: Shopping at sites that aren't secure.
You can get a lot of clues about security simply by checking the company's website address. For example, look for URLs that begin with "https" rather than "http," because the added s indicates it is a secure website. Check also for a padlock icon in the address bar to show the site uses encryption to ensure security, and click on the lock to learn the details.
Mistake #4: Not using a credit card.
Charging the transaction allows you to dispute the purchase if it doesn't arrive or doesn't live up to expectations. At the same time, since identity theft—including the unauthorized use of credit card numbers—is growing, be sure to review your credit card statements regularly and contact the credit card issuer if you find anything that shouldn't be on your bill.
Mistake #5: Shopping using a public Wi-Fi connection.
While it's fun to settle in at a coffee house and do some shopping, it's generally a bad idea. The connection you are using may not be secure, meaning that hackers may be able to gain access to the personal information you share with the retailer and use it to make unauthorized purchases.
Read more about how to protect yourself on Cyber Monday at the Collinsville News website.