‘Tis the season to shop until you drop, whether that’s at the mall or through online stores. If you’re taking the online shopping route, it’s important to be aware of the various cybersecurity issues to avoid and what steps to take in order to stay safe. Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind: 

Don’t Save Your Card Information 

Browsers give you the option to save your information on your computer, so you don’t have to enter it next time you purchase something. This may seem convenient, however it’s not a safe choice. Your device could be stolen or hacked, leaving your information up for grabs. Instead, take the extra minute to re-enter your information with each purchase. 

Buy From Businesses You Trust 

If you find something you want on an unfamiliar website, do some extra research and buy from an online business you've purchased from before and trust. Reviews are a good place to look, but they’re not always accurate either. Play it safe and stick to what you know! 

Watch Out for Email Scams 

Especially around the holiday season, email scammers tend to send out “special offers” or “gifts” to rope people in. Make sure you’re careful with what emails you open, and never provide personal information to a source you’re not confident in. 

Avoid Shopping on a Public Wi-Fi Network 

Public Wi-Fi networks put you at risk for being hacked. Using your personal Wi-Fi at home or a personal hotspot is your best option as it’s the most secure while you’re making purchases. 

Credit Instead of Debit 

Most credit card companies won’t charge you for fraudulent use, but if your debit card information is compromised, recovering your money is a difficult process. Using a credit card gives you added protection if something were to happen. 

Look for the “S” 

Take a look at the beginning of the website URL you’re on. The “s” in “https” stands for “secure,” meaning your personal and financial information is encrypted. Do not provide any information to a site that is not secure – this is a common mistake that can be easily avoided. 

Keep Your Software Updated 

When a new software update is released, it’s allowing you to improve the security on your device and fight cybercrime attacks. While it can be easy to put off the software updates, it’s important that you keep up with them so your device stays protected. 

Now that you’re prepared and know how to avoid cybercrime while making purchases online, it’s time to start the Christmas shopping process. We wish you the happiest of holidays!