I don’t know if everyone waits for after thanksgiving to shop or it may be a little late in the shopping season but it’s time for my yearly Christmas online shopping tips.

This is the time of the year scammers will be trying to trick you into visiting their site to get your credit card numbers or account info of another site.

– Be very careful of any email’s (or social media posts) you get with coupons or advertising sales.
                Make sure they come from the real company.
                Make sure any links actually take you to the real web site. If you
can, visit the site separately and type in any coupon codes.

– Be careful of any ads on web sites you visit. Take the same care in those links.

– Don’t trust any emails out of the blue saying you need to verify your account info!
If in doubt, visit the site by bookmark or type it in, not by clicking on a link in these emails.

– If you visit a site you only use this time of year or never again, try and check out as a Guest.
don’t sign up for every site you visit or buy from if you don’t need to.

– Don’t have the site remember your card number.

– If you do need to sign up for a new site use a strong and unique
password. (and a password manager!) 
                Maybe even use a masked email address – see below.

Extra cautious steps to take

Retail stores (both physical and online) get hacked or customer credit card info gets stolen all the time.

– Use prepaid credit or gift cards. You may even get gas or other perks from the store you buy these from!

– There are services that let you generate and use temporary and dollar limited virtual credit card numbers. Some credit card companies offer this also, but seems harder to find. A card I got just for this reason stopped this service earlier this year 😦

                Privacy.com (free for 12 cards/mo) Use this link and get $5 credit
and support my favorite podcast.  privacy.com/twit

                Blur at abine.com (weird names I know) offers several personal
security features including virtual cards. Fees apply.

– Use a masked or virtual email address on sites you don’t trust or don’t
want junk mail from.
                Blur at abine.com offers this feature for fee.


Credit card breach photo from abine.com

Posted by Ken Barker

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