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Shopping online? Read this before you click


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Shopping online? Make sure your information is secure. (Photo: Getty)

Shopping online could put you at risk. An alarming report by the Better Business Bureau shows a spike in online scams since the beginning of the pandemic. “Online purchase scams were in the top three riskiest scams for the third year in a row,” Melissa Lanning Trumpower, the executive director of the Better Business Bureau’s Institute for Marketplace Trust, tells Yahoo Life.

“When COVID hit, it became obvious that this was becoming even riskier because people were increasing their online presence.” Each year, her team puts together a report identifying the riskiest consumer scams. Trumpower said their 2020 report shows buying online continues to be one of the biggest offenders.


Try LastPass Premium, part of Yahoo Plus Secure, risk-free for 30 days. “When you create accounts online, use a different password for every account. That way, if your password gets compromised on one account, the attacker will not be able to break into all your other accounts,” Lorrie Cranor, director of the CyLab Security and Privacy Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, tells Yahoo Life.

Cranor says some of the best ways to protect yourself and your personal information is to stick with websites and vendors you’re familiar with, research those you haven’t heard of before, and be smart about how you set up your accounts. “Completely random passwords are safest, but they are harder to remember. Write them down in a safe place or use a password manager program.”

One way to generate random passwords for your online accounts is with LastPass Premium. This top-rated password manager creates safe and unique passwords for every online account you use. Once passwords are made, the software simplifies your online shopping by automatically filling in those long and complicated passwords.

LastPass Premium also stores your payment information and shipping details within its vault and automatically fills those in. This adds another layer of security because the vendors do not get access to your credit card information. And you get the bonus of making your online shopping easier.

For added security, try LastPass Premium for your online shopping. (Photo: Getty)

Regarding credit cards, Trumpower says the BBB’s study reveals that some payment methods are safer than others. “Make sure that when you enter a payment, you’re using a credit card or PayPal. Those are the two payment methods that didn’t lose as much money,” she says. “When people were using non-traceable payment methods, they were more likely not to get their money back or lose money.”

If you think you’re safe browsing the internet for gift ideas, think again. Scammers are trolling your searches to identify which products online shoppers are looking for. The FTC adds that credit card companies also let you dispute unauthorized charges or temporarily withhold payment when you suspect you’ve fallen victim to a scam.

“When you click on things, even if you don’t make a purchase, scammers have access to those tools, so they can gauge what it is you’re looking for,” says Trumpower. “They’re always looking for the most popular products to offer those up to consumers at the best price, and as we know, price is the key factor to falling prey to a scam, so that’s something we need to be careful about. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If no one else has that product, and it’s a great price, just be careful and proceed cautiously.”

Shop it: Try LastPass Premium, part of Yahoo Plus Secure, risk-free for 30 days, subscriptions.yahoo.com.

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