SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Holiday shopping can be stressful and rushing from store to store or looking for last-minute deals can cause you to be a victim to cybercriminals.
An important thing to remember when shopping online is to slow down and make sure the websites are legitimate.
A simple way to do this is to avoid using public wi-fi spots like coffee shops or libraries.
The safest place to shop online is at home with your own internet.
You should also take the time and double-check the URL of the site you’re on lots of times scammers use a similar link that’s just one or two letters off.
“This is a busy time of the year, and so you may see something and think it looks okay, and click on it, and not do your homework, the biggest thing is just taking the time to do your homework, and make sure that you are on the site you think you’re on,” said Shannon McMurtrey, cybersecurity assistant professor at Drury University.
To be careful on giving Tuesday, December 3, McMurtrey wants to remind everyone to do their homework before giving donations.
“If an organization sends you an e-mail asking you to donate, just open up your web browser and go straight to their website,” McMurtrey said. “Type in the address yourself rather than clicking on it.”
Samaha Ghani, a student at Drury University, occasionally participates in charitable giving.
“If I want to do a donation, I usually do them in person, because I don’t like giving away my personal information,” Ghani said.
McMurtrey says that one should always use their credit card if possible.
“When you use your debit card, that ties up your checking account,” McMurtrey said.
With holiday shopping in full swing, Ghani says she gets 95% of her shopping done online.
“I click onto the weblink I always check if it’s actually, not something weird I’m clicking, like Russian website or like a turkey,” Ghani said.
Better Business Bureau investigator, Rebecca Phoenix says even if the website is legit, scammers can be untruthful in other ways.
“They could have a legitimate website, but have counterfeit goods mixed in, or that they are importing goods that will never arrive in time for Christmas,” Phoenix said.
For a way to check the legitimacy of a website, click here.