Sheriff Offers Tips to Stay Safe Shopping Online for Cyber Monday - KNSI

(KNSI) — Today is Cyber Monday. The day when online shoppers point and click their way through deals, but as you’re scrolling for that perfect gift, scammers and thieves are waiting to steal your money, credit card numbers, or worse, completely steal your identity and go on a shopping spree of their own.
Benton County Sheriff Troy Heck has some tips for how to know the site where you’re shopping is legit and what to watch out for before you click the purchase button.
He says that as we have become more comfortable shopping online, we can tend to get too comfortable and let our guard down.
He says, when we shop in person, we know we’re going to go to the store, we have something we want in our hand, and we give that person that’s running the shop the money, and you both part your ways. When you’re shopping online, at some point, that person that you’re shopping with is going to have both your money and the product you want, and most of the time, that’s a transaction that works out great for both parties. But that is a gamble that we all play when we’re shopping online.”
Before you let your fingers do the shopping, Heck says check and make sure your link is secure. He says where the web address is; it should say HTTPS://. That “s” means you have a secure connection. Also, look at the website. Does it look professional? Are the grammar, spelling, and punctuation correct? Typos can happen occasionally, but a number of them or incorrect phrasing should tip you off. Look at the contact page. Are there multiple ways to contact them like phone, email, chat, physical address, etc.? Check their social media profiles. Are they active? Do they have reviews? Check Linked In to see if there are profiles of employees of that company. If you still aren’t sure, check the Google Transparency Report. It allows you to enter a web address, and it will check if the site is safe.
Another red flag is to look at the payment options. Sheriff Heck says, “Do they have all the traditional online payment options can you pay with a credit card can you pay with your PayPal? If you start seeing things like well it has to be cryptocurrency or it has to be a money transfer or it has to be gift cards. Those are things that should definitely raise red flags.”
After the transaction is complete, the next thing to worry about, Heck says, are those dreaded porch pirates. They follow the trucks around neighborhoods and steal packages left in mailboxes and on front stoops. Theft is a crime of opportunity, so make sure the package either isn’t delivered to an empty home or have it delivered to a locker at the post office or your workplace. He says having it delivered to a family member or asking a trusted neighbor to watch for delivery is another way to protect your items.
If you feel you have been scammed, you can contact your local law enforcement agency, but Sheriff Heck says the FBI and the Federal Trade Commission have ways to report online fraud.
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