Stay safe during last-minute holiday shopping, warns expert

As the holiday season approaches and last-minute shoppers scramble to find the perfect gifts, it's important to be aware of the risks of online fraud. According to Visa's Chief Risk Officer, Paul Fabara, procrastination can make consumers more vulnerable to scams. Crooks take advantage of the urgency and offer last-minute deals that seem too good to be true. Not only may victims not receive what they ordered, but they may also find unauthorized transactions on their accounts.

To help consumers stay safe while shopping online, Visa has provided some best practices. First, it is advised to avoid using public Wi-Fi networks as they are not secured and personal information may be at risk. Secondly, it is crucial to ensure that websites have a secure connection by checking that the website address starts with "https://". This encryption ensures that data is protected.

Doing a background check on web retailers is also recommended to ensure their legitimacy. Additionally, taking extra steps to protect accounts is crucial. Using unique and strong passwords for bank accounts, credit cards, and online retailer accounts is advised. Implementing two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security by requiring more than just a password for verification.

Consumers are also urged to be cautious of deals that seem too good to be true. Scammers often target unsuspecting individuals with offers for sold-out items at discounted prices and expedited shipping. If a deal appears too good to be true, it's important to think twice before making a purchase.

Melanie McGovern, a spokeswoman for the International Association of Better Business Bureaus, warns consumers to be wary of social media ads that offer popular items at low prices when they are sold out elsewhere.

If you do fall victim to a scam, it is recommended to contact your bank, credit card company, or financial institution immediately to report the compromise of your information.

As the holiday season continues, it's crucial for shoppers to remain vigilant and follow these best practices to protect themselves from online fraud. By taking these precautions, consumers can ensure a safer and more secure shopping experience.


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