Shoppers crossing off holiday gift list using smartphones
It doesn't seem like it was that long ago when Black Friday was on a Friday. These days Black Friday is an entire week. Or maybe two. While shoppers have been getting Black Friday deals online, millions of people aren't shopping in stores or even on a computer. They're purchasing products from their smartphone.
This year research group Adobe Analytics predicts Americans will spend almost $80-million using smartphones and tablets. That prediction is just for November.
How safe is shopping on a smartphone? If you're careless, it isn't safe at all. Here are a few things you should know before tapping the "Buy" button on a phone or tablet:
- Use your cellular provider's data network rather than logging onto public Wi-Fi. There's always a chance a scammer can see or steal your credit card or bank information as you shop.
- Use a VPN or Virtual Private Network.
- Do not use a debit card, use a credit card instead. Credit card companies will protect you from theft and fraud while a debit card links directly to your bank account.
- If you don't have a credit card, consider using PayPal. PayPal acts as a credit card somewhat. You link your bank account to a PayPal account and us it to make purchases at most online retailers. PayPal encrypts your information so that the companies you're buying from cannot get or see your bank information. PayPal also protects you from fraud. If you do not receive your item or it isn't as advertised, PayPal will freeze the transaction until it has time to investigate.
- Never download an app from anywhere other than the Google Play Store or Apple's App Store.
- Do not click on a link in an unsolicited email. Some scammers will send out hundreds of thousands of emails in a phishing attack, hoping someone clicks on a link to be taken to a website that asks for bank or credit card information.
- If you're buying from eBay, do not make the purchase without using PayPal. PayPal is owned by eBay for the sole reason of protecting its users.