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Follow These Tips for Safe Online Shopping This Holiday Season

November 20, 2020
Person in front of laptop shopping online

Happy Holidays! This holiday season, more people are shopping online due to the pandemic.  If you are scouring the internet for the best online deals, the City of Los Angeles' Information Technology Agency Security Office wants to share the following tips for safe online shopping this holiday season!


Watch out for Fake Websites

Be wary! Some fake websites offer high-demand products at massive discounts. Fake websites can send you counterfeit items or, your purchases might not be delivered. Here are tips to protect yourself from fake online stores:

  • If a deal seems too good to be true, it may be fake. Watch for typosquatting websites ("Amazing.com, BestBuyz.com").
  • Look for reviews of online stores using your favorite search engine.
  • Use unique passwords for each of your online accounts.

Online marketplaces allow third-party sellers to list products on their website. Always double-check a seller’s reputation before placing your order. Try to purchase items from a verified seller in online marketplaces.


Avoid Traps in Social Media

More people are using social media to overcome social distancing. Be cautious of trending holiday social media scams.

  • If you receive an invitation email or message on social media like Facebook to join a “Secret Santa” or “Secret Sister” gift exchange, it might be a scam.
  • If a stranger asks for a money transfer, it is a scam!


Protect Your Online Payment Information

Always check your credit card statements to identify suspicious charges. When possible, enable notifications by email, text, or app for every time a charge is made to your credit card. If you are alerted with a suspicious activity notice, call your credit card company right away and report it.

  • Avoid using debit cards, as phony transactions are harder to dispute.
  • Try well-known payment services for online purchases, which do not require you to disclose your credit card number to the vendor.
  • Consider using a gift card for online purchases.

For more tips on how to shop safely check out the Department of Homeland Security’s article on “Safe shopping this holiday season