Staying protected when online Christmas shopping - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Staying protected when online Christmas shopping

(Source: KWES) (Source: KWES)
MIDLAND, TX (KWES) -

It's scammers' favorite time during the year. With just a click, you can shop and get items online straight to your door. But it's where you click that can lead to potential dangers, which in turn, hurt your bank account.

Many scammers are waiting for the next person to fall victim. They can fool anyone into clicking on a spoofed website. Those are the fake websites that make you think are legitimate, but they actually aren't. Once you finish a transaction on a spoofed website, you'll either never get those items to your doorstep or the scammer takes your money.

"I can copy a bank's website, edit that, change the link to go to a server or someplace else, other than the bank's and go through a password phase for example which is common," said Dennis Sever, Vice President of Information Technology and Facilities at Midland College. "When you do that, you're giving somebody your password and then before you can get to your bank, they've already gone in and taken your money."

Some helpful tips are to make sure you're shopping on websites that are secure. A way to check is to look at the "S" on "HTTP."

- Whenever you do any kind of shopping that requires an account, use passphrases instead of passwords.

"Passwords should not be 3, 4 or 5 characters long. They should be 12-15-20 characters long," said Sever. 

- Shop with a credit card rather than a debit card whenever you can in case you run into a fraudulent transaction. 

- Also, look up a website if you're unfamiliar with it to see if they're legitimate because you never know who's on the other side of that screen.

- Don't use public Wi-Fi because scammers can gather your personal information on a shared network.

"It's increasingly dangerous, don't ever share your personal information with anyone over the phone or online. Try to protect your privacy."

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