The pandemic has created shopping nightmares across the country. Unfortunately, stores from New York to California have limited supplies on everything from food to car parts. The unpredictable changes to the world as we have known it has elevated the path to conveniently shopping from the comfort of our couches. Although shopping online is convenient, it comes with risks. According to FTC.GOV online shopping was the second-most common fraud category reported by consumers, elevated by a surge of reports in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Internet services; prizes, sweepstakes, and lotteries; and telephone and mobile services rounded out the top five fraud categories. Consumers reported losing more than $3.3 billion to fraud in 2020, up from $1.8 billion in 2019. Nearly $1.2 billion of losses reported last year were due to imposter scams, while online shopping accounted for about $246 million in reported losses from consumers.
This growing phenomenon has put scammers into work overload. The innovative thieves are eager to find creative ways to scam unknowing shoppers. With the holiday season approaching, Tocsin Magazine is here to assist online shoppers with a safer shopping experience.
1. Purchasing a reloadable prepaid Master/Visa card helps with the phobias of shopping online. https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/banking/best-prepaid-debit-cards
2. Add alerts to your bank account. This way you will be notified swiftly of all transactions and have the ability to deactivate your card with any suspicious activity. https://www.wellsfargo.com/debit-card/alerts/
3. Avoid shopping on websites that you are not familiar with.
4. Only use credit or debit cards online that have a limit on spending usage pre-day. Applying spending limits could help limit the money scammers will have access to. https://www.bankrate.com/banking/checking/debit-card-spending-limits/
5. When purchasing online, set up an account with a secure online payment solution like PayPal, Stripe, etc. Using a payment solution could decrease the risks of multiple businesses having access to your credit/debit card information. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/286006