With Christmas upon us and holiday shopping peaking, be on the lookout for thieves and scammers, not just in the brick and mortar stores, but online as well. It can be tricky to know what’s real and what’s fake on the Internet, so we’ve compiled a list of tips to consider to help keep you safe when online shopping.

1. Data Protection

Some popular tactics Internet scammers use include getting sensitive information by email or online messaging by disguising as a trustworthy friend or entity; using data collected from breaches to assess online users and decide exactly how to target shoppers with social engineering and artificial intelligence; exploiting consumers via internet devices such as thermostats, sensors and appliances that have no form of security controls built in. The best way to fight these tactics is to exercise caution when giving out sensitive information online – perhaps a phone call to whomever is requesting this information to confirm their authenticity. Use anti-virus software to protect your data as it fights viruses and security breaches. Don’t make payments over public or open WiFi, review online account settings to keep payment information personal and change passwords often so they are hard to guess.


2. When Shopping

Be wary of fake online stores and always check website domain names to ensure they match exactly the credible websites you know. To be safe, buy only from stores you know and trust. It’s best to bookmark those websites. Be wary of deals that sound too good to be true, like prices significantly better than those on known online stores. Finally, when paying, review credit card statements regularly to identify any suspicious charges. Enabling notifications via email, text or app whenever a charge is made can help you monitor your credit card. If you see any suspicious activity, report it to your credit card company. Lastly, avoid using your debit card when possible as they take money directly from your bank account and it is much harder to get your money back if a crime has been committed.

Safe shopping and happy holidays!