Are you one of the increasing numbers of shoppers who embraces the convenience of making holiday purchases online? If you said yes, you’re part of a rapidly growing sector of consumers. Analysts predict that online retail sales this holiday season will surpass $94 billion this year, a new record.
If you’re like the majority of today’s consumers, making online purchases has become second nature and e-commerce is the new normal. Our collective acceptance of digital retail outlets, however, should not make us so complacent that we overlook the emerging risk of fraud.
A recent article in Forbes surveying 125 retailers found that online fraud attempts are estimated to increase by 43% this year. That’s a big jump. Rather than feeling anxious, these stats should motivate us to look for simple strategies to help minimize risks when shopping online.
With the right advice, it’s easy to shop online safely and benefit from great deals on holiday purchases. Here are 5 safety tips you can start using right away.
Review your transaction history often
Rather than waiting for your monthly statement to arrive, we recommend occasionally reviewing your transaction histories for your credit card, bank account, and Payza account. Make a quick review each week in December and January when your transactions are at their highest. If you wait for your statement to arrive, this high volume makes it more difficult to identify unauthorized purchases.
If you spot a transaction that you don’t remember making, report it immediately to your bank, credit card company, or Payza.
Watch out for phishing emails
Fraudsters know you are shopping online more than usual during the holidays, which makes keeping track of all the online stores you visit and purchases you make more difficult. Expect more phishing email scams to show up in your inbox as cyber criminals try to take advantage of the holiday rush. Beware of fraudulent emails claiming there is a problem with a recent purchase made at a popular online retailer, or that claims there is a problem with your bank or credit card. Be very suspicious of any email requesting your personal financial information, passwords, and/or usernames for any issue related to payments and online shopping.
For even more information about phishing emails, check out our blog article on how to identify these fraud emails.
Shop on sites you know and trust, read reviews for sites you don’t know
If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. There are countless websites claiming to have high-end merchandise for sale at bargain prices. Most online retailers are legitimate businesses, but some aren’t. Play it safe and limit your purchases to retailers you know. If there’s a deal you simply can’t pass up from a site you’ve never heard of, be sure to research the reputation of the retailer before making a purchase. This is especially important for online auction sites where the seller may not be associated with the website – read the reviews and feedback for sellers.
Beware of fake reviews as well. A high number of positive reviews posted over a period of months to years offer the best estimate of trustworthiness for a seller.
Update your anti-virus software and operating system today
Be certain that you have downloaded all recent updates to your anti-virus and operating system. This ensures your computer is protected from known malware, spyware, and spamware bots that lurk behind the scenes at some online retailers and infect online shopping cart payment gateways. Make sure you are using the latest version of your preferred internet browser as well. Browsers are updated regularly to remove software vulnerabilities known to have been exploited by cyber criminals.
Use secure payment methods and check security certificates
Credit cards and online payment options, like your Payza e-wallet, are more secure methods to make purchases online because they have built-in fraud prevention screening tools to help protect your information. These protections may be absent when you make purchases using direct money transfers or personal checks.
Be sure to only make purchases from websites that have encryption technologies that protect your personal information, such as SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and HTTPS protocols (the “S” means “Secure”). You should see a “lock” icon next to the web address; when you click it, a security certificate should appear for that website; if no security certificate appears, you are likely at a fraudulent website and should navigate away immediately.
Here are even more tips and resources to help you stay safe this holiday season.
- More helpful tips for safe online shopping from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
- Overview of risks for online shopping and online auction websites published by the Government of Canada.
The holiday season is upon us. We all look forward to moments where we can cherish our time with loved ones and show our appreciation for friends and colleagues that have a special place in our hearts.
A common tradition this time of year is for family members living abroad to offer a helping hand to loved ones back home by sending money. The time is right since many fortunate employees receive a holiday bonus, giving them the means to send extra cash home. As an employer, you may want to express gratitude by offering a holiday bonus to your favorite contract employees or freelancer living in another region of the world. Whatever your motives for gift giving, you can rest assured that sending money online using your Payza account will free you from financial tasks and let you focus on joyous holiday gatherings.
The benefits of sending money with Payza
Whether you want to send money online to China, Brazil, India, South Africa, or any of the more than 190 countries Payza serves, using our platform is fast, secure, affordable, and practical. We operate in many countries where other leading payment platforms don’t, so geographical boundaries pose no challenge when sending money to where it needs to go.
Fast because sending money from one Payza account to another is instant anywhere in the world. We offer several options to add and withdraw funds from Payza that take no more than a few business days to complete.
Secure because you can avoid the risks of sending money in the mail and our fraud prevention and security services ensure your money makes it to its rightful destination.
Affordable because we give you options to send money at competitive rates that suit you best, rates that are lower than many popular money transfer companies.
Practical because the recipient of your gift can use that money instantly to shop online at a variety of retailers, or just withdraw those funds to their bank account or Bitcoin wallet
We also provide unique banking services that enable you to pay a freelancer abroad with your domestic currency and have them receive your gift in their bank account in their local currency.
Ways to send money that suit your needs best
With our multiple options to add and withdraw funds from Payza, you decide which option is right for you. Consider these three scenarios for holiday gift giving:
In a rush and just in time for the holidays: Want to be sure that your gift will reach its destination on time? Want to avoid delays from bank holidays? Add funds instantly by credit card and send them to your recipient just as fast! Your loved one will have their holiday cash in a matter of minutes to spend online or withdraw by their preferred method. This option is ideal for sending money to students away at college or family members eager to shop online.
On a budget, sending the most funds with reduced fees: Left yourself enough time before the holidays to add funds by Bank Transfer or Bank Wire and save on fees? Want to maximize the money you send home from a holiday bonus at work? This strategy requires more time to complete but is worth the wait because you and your recipient will benefit from the lower transaction fees.
Holiday bonus for contract employees and freelancers abroad: Sending payments to freelancers in many regions of the world is a headache for both the sender and receiver. Many booming regions of freelance workers, such as South Asia, lack online payment infrastructure that makes it easy to receive international payments. Payza developed this necessary infrastructure and makes it easy to send money to Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India. Consider our services specific to India:
You send more than money, you send well-being
Our services are about more than sending money. With each international money transfer, what you really send is security and well-being. For the elderly parent back home, you can send the money they need for daily living expenses without them having to travel long distances to collect cash at a bank. For the child studying abroad, sending funds lets them to take a break from yet another meal of ramen noodles by offering the means to buy a quality dinner. For the freelancer in the developing world, your bonus enables them to invest in their business and gain greater financial independence.
The holiday season is about giving and this is why we want to make your acts of generosity as easy as possible.
From all of us at Payza, we wish you and your loved ones the happiest of holidays and all the best in the new year.