When Megan Roell realized she had been charged a few hundred dollars for a dress that was supposed to cost $50, she learned a valuable lesson: Not all shopping websites are trustworthy.
That was this past year. These days, the 21-year-old is more cautious about buying things via the Internet.
“If anything seems even just a little bit off, I don’t do it,” said Roell, a University of Cincinnati fashion design student from Batesville, Indiana. “It’s not worth the risk.”
Roell’s hackles will be up this holiday season, as millions of Americans surf the Internet to buy holiday gifts. And for good reason: In 2013, more than 70 million people were affected by a widespread data breach at Target stores, which hit between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15. Neiman Marcus also reported some of its customers’ credit card information might have been stolen during the 2013 shopping rush.
Sales aren’t expected to slump this season: The National Retail Federation estimates overall sales in November and December will increase 4.1 percent compared with this past year to $616.9 billion. The biggest surge is expected in online sales, which could increase as much as 11 percent to $105 billion, according to the federation’s Shop.org.