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The holidays are here and for holiday shoppers that means Christmas purchases. Many will tackle those holiday lists through the convenience of online shopping. Unfortunately, scammers are also hitting the Internet hoping to gain access to users’ information.

With a bit of effort and common sense, online shoppers can protect themselves. Practice these online shopping tips and your holiday theme song might be “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” instead of “You’re a Mean One Mister Grinch”.

Safe Online Holiday Shopping Tips:

  1. Shop only from trusted sources or reputable businesses. Look for the padlock icon to the left of the URL in the search bar. This tells users the website is secure.
  2. Purchase online items with a prepaid debit card or credit card.
  3. If shopping with a credit card or debit card is not feasible, digital wallet platforms such as Apply Pay or Google Pay offer alternative options.
  4. Never save credit card information on an account.
  5. Use a strong password if an online retailer requires an account to be established. Remember, strong passwords are 12 to 15 characters in length and include at least a number, a special character, an upper case character and a lower case character.
  6. Employ common sense; if it looks too good to be true, then it probably is too good to be true.
  7. Use a secure connection and do not shop on public Wi-Fi.
  8. Use a device that is up-to-date, with a secure connection and anti-malware, anti-virus software.
  9. Be patient; do not feel pressured or rushed to make purchases. Cybercriminals employ tactics to make users feel hurried hoping they will not think twice about clicking that suspicious link or download.
  10. Ship packages to a secure location. The increase in online shopping has warranted an increase in “porch pirates” or thieves who steal packages from porches or doorsteps.
  11. Check statements, accounts and credit card balances for fraudulent charges.
  12. Never give out your social security number.
  13. Do not throw caution to the wind. Remain cyber vigilant and enjoy the holiday season!