COLUMBUS (WCMH) — As Cyber Monday and the rest of the holiday shopping season approaches, police are warning online shoppers to be smart and take precautions when making purchases online.
Officer Deaton with the Hilliard Police Department said one of the first things to do on Cyber Monday is to make sure you’re using the retailers correct web address.
“When you’re typing into the URL, don’t click on to a site through an email or something, actually type it in yourself,” Deaton said. “You’re going to see a lot of things pop up, stay away from… the ones at the top that are marked ‘Ad’.”
Deaton also said that many bogus sites may have a misspelling or grammar mistake. He mentioned that many larger retailers have sites that are dot-com so shoppers should be sure they’re dealing with something legitimate if it’s marked dot-net.
Deaton said shoppers should be careful using public wi-fi.
“A public wi-fi anybody can get access to that so make sure if you’re looking you’re looking and not purchasing,” said Deaton.
Deaton also warned against using public computers.
“Make sure you’re not buying anything on a computer that you don’t know if any hackers put some type of key-stroking device on there where they can later go back and watch what you put in the computer and use that against you,” Deaton.
When it comes to paying for the purchase, Deaton said it’s important to keep your account numbers safe, he suggested a credit card versus a debit card.
“Use a credit card not your debit card or use a pay-pal account those keep you protected in case your number would be compromised,” said Deaton. “Stay away from those adds that you get in email don’t ever click on those because it could be a fishy scheme or something of that nature where they are trying to get your information and it may look like a regular site but it’s not.”
Police also recommend that you check your bank records to make sure you were charged correctly. Don’t wait until your statement comes and if anything looks unusual call your bank and/or credit card company as soon as possible. Report suspicious websites to the attorney general. If you think your identity was stolen from an online purchase call your local law enforcement.
“The old adage, that’s too good to be true, it probably is so stay away from those things,” Deaton.
Officer Deaton also added that you should never be asked for your social security number or your birth date when making an online purchase.