Confessions of an Online Shopaholic


When it comes to shopping online, I’m a pro. Not just a first-year rookie, but a seasoned veteran hardened with the battle scars of erroneous orders, fraud alerts, and a graveyard of shredded past credit cards.

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You may question how I can call myself a pro when my card is replaced with the same frequency as the sales texts from Target, but contrary to popular belief, it’s not a case of spontaneous credit card combustion. It’s because I’m the epicenter for household ordering. You need night-time pants? Broccoli? A new shirt? A part to fix a toilet? Sports equipment? A gift? I’m on it.


My shopping footprint is wide and frequent. Unfortunately, with those stats, compromise is a given.


So how can you stay shopaholic safe when we skipped right over Thanksgiving and every store went straight from Halloween to Christmas?


Here’s some easy steps to navigate your cyber readiness and personal protection for this holiday season and try keep some sanity along the way.


Use your eyes!

To start, pay attention to what you’ve ordered, from which store, and when! 


Seems like a small gesture, but many people don’t review their orders to identify duplicate, erroneous, or fraudulent orders from stores they visit often. If you see suspicious activity from a store you frequent with items you didn’t order, on a day you weren’t there or didn’t virtually shop, report it! This happens frequently so hop to it!  Yes, I did shop at Target this week. But not at my local store and a store 1200 miles from my house to buy multiple gaming systems with drive-up pick-up. No thank you. Crisis averted.


Change your logon information, cancel the order, contact the store or help desk directly to report the incident, and you guessed it, to be safe change your card!


Statement Reviews!

I promise your statements are not just for winter fireplace kindling. Review each month’s statement (or even better, the online activity more frequently) to identify purchases that look suspicious or erroneous! If possible, consolidate your purchases onto a single card to make unusual or suspicious activity easier to spot.

The faster you can report potential fraudulent activity, the faster they can take action to eliminate it from your list of worries. Let your credit card company work for you to investigate and remedy financial headaches you didn’t cause. Hey, guess what, it’s time for a new card 😉


Verify your storefronts!

The amount of random web shops my children ask me to purchase ridiculous items from is as high as Mt. Kilimanjaro. When I show them the report of the unverified site with too many negative reviews to read and a pile of spelling or general website build errors, they walk it back.


Investigate non-mainstream stores! Not every web address is reputable or worth exchanging your credit card and personal data with. If it’s not secure, there is also little chance your order will be fulfilled accurately with your credit intact in the first place.


Slow Down!

The holidays mean ludicrous speed all around, but when we’re racing for last-minute deals and steals, we aren’t using our usual level of purchase diligence. But let’s be honest. Reason left when your kids started using a pillowcase for Halloween candy. The holidays means go time. Everything is frenzied and over the top. Take the time to pause and think about your purchases, the places you’re shopping, and how you’re using your credit card.


A rapid on the go purchase for a late present entering your credit card number on public unsecured Wi-Fi? NO. Phone order while waiting in line at Starbucks by shouting your credit card number on speaker? NO. Popup shop that needs to manually write your bank account number down on paper with your name and address to make the charge? NO. While we’re at it, please remind family members that no one is sending them anonymous gifts if they just provide credit information for shipping!


Rotating card numbers isn’t my favorite pastime, but it’s necessary. When our card numbers are a dime a dozen for criminals to acquire, you need to stay one step ahead. By monitoring, alerting, and changing your card when you notice irregularities, you can stay ahead of the curve.


Happy holidays – and happy cyber safe shopping!

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