With many Nova Scotians expected to search online sites for Cyber Monday holiday deals over the next few days, Halifax District RCMP and Halifax Regional Police remind shoppers to be aware of possible internet thieves and scams.
The holidays create opportunities for criminals hoping that shoppers will enter their credit card information on fake shopping sites or through cell phone apps, only to find out the gifts never arrive or that someone has stolen their personal information. The RCMP and HRP are asking Nova Scotians to keep these tips in mind to ensure a safe online shopping experience:
• Shop only from your home computer – it’s much safer than shopping at a public terminal
• Use different user ID and passwords for different accounts
• Go directly to a store’s website by manually typing its address into your web browser
• Don’t click on links in an e-mail message even if you know who sent it
• Verify secure connections. When shopping on-line, do not enter any financial information if you see a broken-key or open padlock symbol on your Internet browser- this means the transaction is not secure and could be intercepted by a third party. When the key is complete or the padlock is locked, your browser is indicating a secure transaction
• Consider using a company acting as escrow (reliable third party), a credit card with a low credit limit or a single use payment card
• Unlike secure order forms on a website, e-mail messages are not private. Do not send confidential personal or financial information by e-mail
• Avoid spam (unsolicited marketing e-mail) by being careful about disclosing your e-mail address both on and offline
• Monitor your bank and credit card accounts and statements online. Electronic statements allow you to review your purchases and payments as they happen rather than waiting until the end of the month to review your paper statement
• Immediately report any discrepancies to your bank or to the company that issued the credit card.