December 2, 2019
Shopping online is becoming easier and more convenient than ever before. Online experts are predicting a 19% increase in online sales during Cyber Monday 2019.
The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office reminds our community to take simple precautions to avoid becoming a victim of fraud or theft.
“If you are going to do online shopping, use a credit card rather than a debit card,” said Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Ryan Solomon. “Credit cards aren’t tied directly to your bank account and most of the time they allow you to challenge illegal or unlawful charges.”
When making an online purchase make sure you are buying from a company you know and trust.
If you’re using Wi-Fi to make a purchase, avoid using free, public hotspots like those found at coffee shops, hotels or airports.
“Public Wi-Fi is by its nature unsecure and anytime you’re putting your personal identifying information into any website over a public Wi-Fi, you’re at risk for that information to be stolen,” DDA Solomon said.
Before you even start to shop, look at the website’s URL and ensure it’s a secure website. Most web browsers – even on cell phones — will alert you to an unsecure site.
To confirm, click the URL and look for “HTTPS”. You can also look for a padlock icon near the URL.
Purchasing items on an unsecure website could expose you to identity theft or other online crimes.
Many online retailers are now offering you the ability to store your credit card information. While that might be convenient in many situations, your personal information, including credit card data, is now stored on that company’s servers.
“If that company has a data breach down the road, you’re now in jeopardy of having your information stolen,” DDA Solomon said.
The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office also wants you to be aware of potentially “too good to be true” sales and offers. Often times, these smaller, or completely unheard of online stores, will offer name brand consumer goods, luxury items or electronics at dirt cheap prices.
“You will likely see on social media, banner ads, which could end up taking you to unknown websites that are offering great deals, but some of those websites are phising for information, may not be secure or may be offering counterfeit or stolen items,” DDA Solomon said.
Finally, before clicking “checkout” – make sure you have a plan to receive your purchases securely. If you’re buying from a store nearby consider clicking the “in store pick up” button. Many retailers will offer you an added discount for doing so. Otherwise, make sure your packages are delivered when you or someone you trust can sign for those items.
“This is porch pirate season,” DDA Solomon said. “It’s not uncommon to see packages being stolen shortly after being delivered. Unfortunately, that’s just a fact of life right now. Our office is doing the best we can to combat theft by working with local law enforcement.”
The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office encourages members of the community to report any suspicious activity they see in their neighborhoods.
Contact: Brent Weisberg, Communications Director