Village News - Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Use best practices while shopping safely online this holiday season


Last updated 11/13/2019 at 3:44pm

FALLBROOK – With all of the different online shopping destinations this holiday season, it can be easy to click on this year’s must-have toys, Candylocks dolls or WowWee Pinkfong’s Baby Shark Official Song Puppet, and pay for them immediately. And according to a recent survey conducted by, 71% of Americans plan to shop online this year; however, it’s important not to fall victim to identity theft or other not-so-jolly situations by recognizing the sources of scams.

First, avoid suspicious websites. Especially when looking for the hottest toy of the season, shoppers may come across a variety of sites. If they see one that seems questionable, however, that has an outdated design or has multiple pop-up windows, it may not be a legitimate retailer. Refrain from making any purchases on these types of sites to ensure that personal information does not get compromised.

Don’t overlook the URL. In addition to avoiding suspicious looking sites, make sure the site has either a little padlock icon on the left side of the search bar and the letters “HTTPS” – emphasis on the ‘S’ – appear. This layer of security is essential when online shopping and sharing personal information. If the site is not secured or the URL only features “HTTP,” the browser may point this lapse out to shoppers in the search bar.

Unsecure networks and devices. If shoppers are going to make any purchase online, they should make sure to take the necessary steps to protect themselves. Use security software and firewalls to keep their information secured. Be sure to avoid public computers and public Wi-Fi networks to make sure no one can potentially access their information. The top way to make sure their information is protected is to regularly change their password, usually every three to six months, to reduce the chances of someone accessing personal profiles, data, etc.

Pay with protection. Ensure online safety by not only logging onto a secure site and network, but also by making purchases online with either a credit card or through PayPal. By using these payment methods, shoppers have an added layer of consumer protection that can guard them against fraud. Don’t get a false sense of security, however. If there is any notice of suspicious activity on a personal credit card, contact the provider immediately.

Beware of phishing emails. While shoppers are skimming their email this holiday season for any coupons or promotions, they should be wary of any enticing emails from an unfamiliar sender in their inbox. Avoid the most common type of fraud by deleting any suspicious emails. Even if it looks somewhat legitimate, keep in mind that criminals use this scheme to get people to provide personal information. Email users can also get a virus on their computer simply by opening the email, so be cautious. In addition to unfamiliar emails, be on the lookout for phishing emails disguised as if they came directly from family members, co-workers, etc. If the message looks strange, double-check the sender address to see if it is actually from that person. More often than not, that gut feeling is usually right, so they should delete the message immediately if it is actually not from a person they know.

Also, look out for gift-card scams. Scammers aren’t just interested in stealing identities and credit- or debit-card information; some want gift cards too. Be wary of any websites or phone representatives that only take gift cards from other retailers – like Walmart or Google Play gift card – for payment. Any merchant who limits payment options to gift card only is usually trouble.

Use these five tips to maximize savings this Cyber Monday – and Black Friday too.

Be a savvy shopper. The holiday season is a hectic time of year, between purchasing gifts, hosting parties and decorating your home, it’s easy to overspend. Bundle savings, coupons and promotions while using a rebate site like to receive cashback on all purchases. TopCashback, the USA’s most generous cashback site, gives users the option to shop online and purchase flights, clothes, appliances, home decor, etc. through the site and receive money back on all purchases while on-the-go. The site is free, offers additional savings and cashback at more than 4,000 retailers and gives users the option to cash out via Paypal, direct deposit or gift cards. has a variety of popular retailers such as Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Walmart, Target and more for any holiday shopping needs.

Be aware of retail tricks. Always be on the look-out for tricks that retailers use to get shoppers to part with their money. From loyalty cards, decoy pricing to email newsletters, merchants use these as incentives to get consumers to shop – especially during the holiday season.

Next, look for the best deals. The best deal-hunters are always well-prepared for Cyber Monday and Black Friday shopping. Before shopping, take inventory of what is needed, from holiday gifts to decorations. Once the shopping list ready, shoppers can head to sites such as to compare what they need to buy versus what will be offered.

Don’t get sidetracked. The mission on Cyber Monday is to get needed gifts at the price they want, so don’t buy stuff simply because of the savings offered. All those sale items – that shoppers can get practically anytime on sale – are just noise meant to distract people from getting what they need.

Be wary of limited quantities. Some of the best deals on Cyber Monday have a ridiculously limited supply. That means shoppers will have to be at the front of the virtual line if they want to snag those deals and save money. To ensure they don’t miss out, check the merchant’s email promotion or website to find out when the sale starts, set an alarm and shop early. Don’t think about finding rock-bottom prices at 2 p.m. Monday – most sales start at midnight and any good deal or item sells out within the first 15-30 minutes – if not seconds.

Submitted by


Reader Comments


Our Family of Publications Includes:

Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2019