Today’s Scambook TV video is all about Cyber Monday 2012 online shopping safety. Kevan brings us exclusive tips to avoid being ripped off during Cyber Monday or any time of the holiday shopping season. Our number one tip is to use a prepaid card instead of your debit card or credit card. Prepaid cards offer all the anti-fraud protections of a credit card with the added bonus of keeping you on budget. Plus, if the card number falls into the hands of a fraudster, it’s not tied to any of your other financial accounts. Kevan explains that the easiest way to get a prepaid card is to go through your bank, but he also recommends the Kaiku card for its low $1.95 a month fee. Then, Kevan advises shoppers to use secure URLs beginning with “https://”, secure their computer with antivirus software and firewalls, and look for reviews before you do business with an online store you’ve never heard of. Whether you’re buying the holiday’s hottest gifts or just shopping online during any season, follow these tips to stay safe!
Cyber Monday has numerous advantages over Black Friday. The deals are better, and you can shop from the comfort of your own home. You don’t have to wait in a cold parking lot all night or worry about getting caught up in the frenzy of a crowd. You’ll also be in a better position to research products before you buy them — that way, you’ll know for sure if you’re getting the best bargain! Just make sure you follow certain safety precautions to avoid being ripped off.
Shop with a Prepaid Card
Scambook recommends that web-savvy holiday shoppers use a prepaid card instead of a debit card or even a personal credit card. They’re a better alternative because they frequently offer the same anti-fraud protection as a credit card and they’ll help you stay on budget. You won’t be able to over-spend on an impulse buy.
The easiest way to get a prepaid Visa, MasterCard or American Express card is to go through your online banking account. Many financial institutions enable you to transfer money directly from your checking account into a separate prepaid card. If your bank doesn’t offer this feature, we recommend the Kaiku card available at www.Kaiku.com. The only downside to prepaid cards is that they often charge small fees for activation or maintenance. Of course, we think a nominal fee is well worth it for the peace of mind! Here’s how Kaiku stacks up against two other cards we like:
Kaiku (www.kaiku.com): No Purchase or Activation Fee, $1.95 monthly maintenance fee, Free Direct Deposit and Bank Account Loading
Green Dot (www.greendot.com): $4.95 Purchase Fee if Bought at Retailer (Free online), No Activation Fee, $5.95 monthly maintenance fee (waived if balance is over $1000 or you make at least 30 purchases each month), Free Direct Deposit
Upside Visa (www.upsidecard.com): No Purchase or Activation Fee, $4.95 monthly fee (only $0.99 per month if loaded with $500 or more), Free Direct Deposit
More Tips to Shop Safely
Use a prepaid card to keep your money secure and hold yourself to a holiday budget. Then, follow these 3 tips for increased cyber security when you shop.
Tip #1: Make sure all online shops use secure links. Don’t click on URLs in an email from someone you don’t know, and never submit personal or financial info to any website unless the URL begins with https://. The “s” means it’s more secure.
Tip #2: Practice safe computing! Make sure your anti-virus software, firewall and web browser are up to date. If you’re connecting to the internet via WiFi, make sure it’s a secure, password-protected network. Don’t shop online from a public place like a library or a coffee shop.
Tip #3: Do your homework before you buy from a brand new website. Sometimes, you can find better deals on smaller online stores than name-brand retailers like Amazon or Walmart. You don’t have to stick to the familiar big companies during Cyber Monday, just make sure you check Scambook and other review sites before you buy from a store you’ve never heard of. You can also try calling them on the phone. If their number works and you get through to a real human being, they’re more likely to be a legitimate store.
Are you planning to shop on Cyber Monday? What steps are you taking to prepare yourself? Post your own cyber shopping strategies in the comments.