Many retailers and banks have begun offering customers the option of receiving receipts from purchases and ATM transactions via email. While this is a convenient alternative to paper clutter, Better Business Bureau reminds shoppers to protect their identity in the process.
E-receipts are convenient both for the retail and the customer. They save retailers money, make it easier for you to electronically file them away until they’re needed for returns, warranties or taxes, and it’s better for the environment.
In order to receive an e-receipt when purchasing from companies online, customers must create an account and provide credit or debit card information, which the company uses to track transactions. After purchases, the company retrieves receipt information directly from retailers and stores it online. Keep in mind technology always increases the chance for scammers to attack and attempt to steal your information.
“Keep in mind that while signing up for paperless receipts may offer savings for retailers and convenience to you, it could result in other items may appear in your mailbox”, said Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB Serving Central East Texas. “Along with receipts, businesses may send “junk mail” filled with surveys, coupons and other promotional offers. They may also use your information to build profiles on demographics and buying habits.”
Find out how the business plans to keep your information secure. You’ll want to check to see if the business plans on selling your information to third-parties. If they do, be on the lookout for unsolicited emails requesting your personal information; they could be scams that download malware on your computer.
Create good passwords. Many online retailers require customers to set up passwords when making purchases. Longer passwords with a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and characters are tougher to hack. Don’t use the same password for every website, and change your passwords every six months.
Ask if you can opt-out of receiving promotional emails. Now that the business has your email address, it’s possible you’ll start to receive coupons, newsletters and other promotional emails from them…and even from others if they’ve sold or shared your data. You may want to set up a separate email address to use for paperless receipts so that you can easily monitor it for spam.
Beware of scams! Having receipts emailed can also make you susceptible to phishing and other identity theft scams. Scammers pose as retailers or banks with realistic-looking emails that may claim there are problems with your purchase and request that you click a link to fix it. The link may take you to a fraudulent site that asks for your personal information, or it might download malware on your computer that will search your hard drive for account numbers and passwords.
Make sure your anti-virus software is up-to-date. Whether or not you plan to increase your internet and email use, it’s always a good idea to make sure your system’s security plan is updated regularly. Spammers feed off of online shoppers who fail to update their security patches.