With holiday sales starting earlier than ever this year and the continued growth of online commerce, the Naperville Police Department wants to remind everyone to be safe no matter how they shop this holiday season.
When shopping online make sure to:
- Use familiar websites: Start at a trusted site rather than shopping with a search engine. Search results can be rigged to lead you astray, especially after the first few pages of links. Beware of misspellings or sites using a different top-level domain (.net instead of .com, for example).
- Use credit cards and secure payment services instead of debit cards: Credit cards and secure payment services are safer than debit cards and offer consumers additional protection when shopping online.
- Gift cards are for gifts, not for making payments: Never wire money or use gift cards for payments.
- Look for the lock: Never use your credit card to buy anything online from a site that doesn’t have SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption installed. An SSL site will start with HTTPS:// (instead of just HTTP://). An icon of a locked padlock will appear in the status bar at the bottom of your web browser or right next to the URL in the address bar.
- Never use public Wi-Fi to make purchases: Public WiFi is convenient and something that we have grown to expect from restaurants and coffee shops. However, when it comes to buying online, all the convenience that comes with public Wi-Fi can be overshadowed by the many risks that that are associated with this service. Adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your phone.
- Check banking statements: Don’t wait for your bill to come at the end of the month. Go online regularly during the holiday season and look at electronic credit card, debit card and checking account statements for fraudulent charges.
- Use strong passwords: Use a unique password for each of your accounts. Strong passwords include a string of text that mixes upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters.
When shopping in store make sure to:
- Be aware of your surroundings: Know what is going on around you and pay attention to your surroundings. Put your cell phone away and trust your intuition if something doesn’t look or feel right. Know where both traditional and non-traditional exits are located and have a plan in mind in case of emergency.
- Guard your purse/wallet: Always keep your purse closed and close to your body. Wear a purse across your body if you can. Never leave a purse on the back of a chair or unattended in your shopping cart. If you have a wallet, keep it in your front pocket versus the back pocket.
- Be smart with cash and credit cards: Avoid carrying large amounts of cash and leave credit cards that you never use at home.
- Be ready: Walk with confidence and purpose and have your keys ready before you get to your vehicle. Don’t overload yourself with packages, keeping your hands free.
- Lock it or lose it: Don’t forget to lock your vehicle, keeping any valuables at home or out of sight by placing them in the trunk or using stow-and-go seating before arriving at your destination. Also, remember where you park.
Until next month… Stay Aware & Stay Safe.
For more information on shopping safety this holiday season, visit www.naperville.il.us/ASaferNaper.