December is upon us and Christmas will be here before we know it.  If you’ve made your list, but haven’t checked it twice, time is running out to get your shopping done.  The number of people shopping online was already increasing exponentially each year before the pandemic, but now it has become even more commonplace.

Most online retailers have more products to choose from and having access to their inventory that can be shipped directly to you or your loved ones helps alleviate an already stressful time. However, there are some online retailers that have no products to offer because their intent is to steal your money – and that can cause a great deal of stress.  The rise of online shopping has made it easier than ever for scammers to steal your money, but if you follow these simple tips, online shopping can be the safest and most convenient way to shop:  

Verify you’re visiting a legitimate website: Reputable companies offer several layers of protection on their website which creates a safe shopping experience. You can verify the legitimacy of a site by ensuring that the company’s name is correctly spelled in the website address and looking for a lock icon in the web address bar. Use caution when clicking on links to websites sent to you via e-mail.

Be careful with your personal information: Scammers may try to contact you and ask for your personal information. They may say that they are trying to “verify” an account or looking to “correct an order,” but don’t buy it.

Use a single payment method: Watching your bank statements for fraudulent activity can be a difficult task, especially with the large amount of purchases during the holidays. Using a single source of payment, preferably one credit card for all purchases, can simplify that process and help safeguard your personal finances.

Criminals are always looking for an easy target and by taking some precautions you can ensure that you aren’t one of them. Remember if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

On behalf of all 2,800 members of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, I wish you a safe and happy holiday season.

Posted by Verliz Williams Monday, January 3, 2022 1:29:00 PM

Non Emergency Line: (727) 582-6200 | In an Emergency call 911ADA info