SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — If you’re venturing out online for some of your holiday shopping, beware. Danger lurks for those who are not careful when it comes to making online purchases with a credit card.

Keep in mind that there are dangers involved in holiday shopping in the real world, too. Black Friday shoppers who storm brick and mortar stores, drivers battling crowds on both roads and in busy parking lots, or even getting pick-pocketed on mass transit are all potential scenarios that we should be aware of.

But we don’t exactly stress the danger in real life like we hype online danger. In any event, consumers need to be educated and aware of holiday scams, offers and even attempts to appeal to people’s charitable nature.

Avoid clicking on links especially if they ask for your credit card information. A good practice is rather than clicking on a link, to just type in the URL. If it’s a merchant you don’t know, it doesn’t mean they’re not reputable, but it helps to check if they have a street address or phone number.

You should also make sure you’re going to a secure site. When you look at the top of the browser where it says ‘http’, or ‘https’, the letter ‘s’ stands for secure. When using your credit card online always make sure the ‘s’ is there so that you are getting encryption with your transaction.

You should also use caution when using a public Wi-Fi connection like at coffee shops, airports and malls. It’s not terribly dangerous, but it does increase the risk because Wi-Fi is an insecure protocol.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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