The good and bad of storing your receipts online

ID-10081948Whether you’re buying a new toaster or a new pair of shoes, it’s a good idea to keep a receipt in case you need to return or exchange your items. Instead of paper receipts, many retailers now offer to email a receipt to you. You can even keep them organized by using one of many smartphone apps.

E-receipts are becoming more popular, but Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin advises shoppers of the problems that could arise from giving your email address to retailers.

E-receipts save retailers money, and make it easier for you to electronically file your receipts away. But beware of what else you could receive in your inbox. Businesses may send junk mail filled with surveys, coupons and other promotional offers. They could use your information to build profiles on demographics and buying habits.

Additionally, having receipts emailed to you can make you more susceptible to phishing and other identity theft scams. Scammers can easily pose as retailers using realistic-looking emails to trick you into opening it, and directing you to click on a specific link. The link may take you to a fraudulent site that asks for your personal information or download malware on your computer.

For shoppers interested in paperless, e-receipts, BBB offers the following advice:

  • Ask how the business plans to use your information. Now that the business has your email address, it’s possible you’ll start receiving coupons, newsletters and other promotional emails from it. If the business plans to sell or share your information you could start receiving unsolicited emails. Beware of any emails requesting your personal information; they could be scams that download malware on your computer.
  • Consider creating a new email account. This day and age you can very easily create an email account for other purposes with minimal information required. Consider creating one specifically for your receipts. Limit the personal information you share when creating the account. Make sure to use a unique password for that specific account.
  • Make sure your anti-virus software is up-to-date. It’s always a good idea to make sure your computer’s security program is updated regularly. Spammers feed off of online shoppers who fail to update their anti-virus software.
  • Confirm your e-receipt has been delivered. Before leaving the store, ensure the receipt has been delivered to your inbox. If you do not have the ability to check your email at that moment, consider getting a hard copy of your receipt until you can confirm the receipt made it into your inbox.
  • Consider third-party software. There is software available, including many smartphone apps that allow you to store all your receipts in one, safe place. Most of these programs allow you to simply take a picture or scan your receipt and then it is digitized and stored on to your smartphone or computer. If you do not have a smartphone, there are programs that can create an email address for you that can be used specifically for e-receipts.