With Corporal Melinda Wray,
Let's face it, there are many reasons
to shop online this holiday season. The bargains
are endless. Long lines and cold walks through busy
parking lots are distant memories. The shopping
is secure and the shipping lands on your front door
step. Returns? No problem. Convenient AND easy?
Sign me up.
But, as you browse the internet for serious deals
and electronic red tags, be careful when you click.
Some common sense and practical advice can help
prevent you from becoming an online scamming statistic
(1) Protect Your PC: Whether holiday shopping or
all-year spending, ensure your computer's anti-virus
program is updated regularly.
(2) Spot the Spam: Links in emails or social media
posts are classic methods used by cybercriminals
to gain access to your personal information or infect
your computer. When in doubt, don't click the link.
(3) Look for the Lock: Never buy anything online
from a site that does not have the SSL (secure sockets
layer) encryption installed. Depending on your browser,
the URL will either start with HTTPS:// (instead
of HTTP://) or an icon of a padlock will appear
right next to the URL in the address bar. Sometimes,
the padlock icon may also appear in the status bar
at the bottom of your web browser.
(4) Ready to Research: If you find yourself using
a new website for online shopping, take a few moments
to read the reviews and comment section. You can
learn a lot from other consumers' experiences, both
positive and negative.
(5) Safeguard Your Personal Info: Stay alert to
the kinds of information being collected by the
website during your purchase. Ensure the information
provided is absolutely necessary to make the transaction
and only fill in the required fields.
This winter, I intend on enjoying holiday TV specials
from the comfort of my own couch, while presents
are delivered straight to my door. If you're like
me, be sure to get your packages delivered during
a time someone is likely to be home. This lessens
the window of opportunity for sticky fingers and
For more information on cyber security and holiday
shopping tips, contact the Norfolk Police Department's
Crime Prevention Unit at 757-664-6901 or visit the
department's website at www.norfolk.gov/police.