Protect Yourself

Black Friday has come and gone, but promotions for the best deals and steals are still everywhere. While some have already identified the items on their wish list and have plotted how they’re going to beat the crowds, six out of 10 folks say they plan to do most of their holiday shopping online. Sound familiar?

Woman shopping online for Christmas

The idea is to search and purchase smartly -- and cautiously -- this season.

Avoid making transactions on public Wi-Fi

Online security company, AVG Technologies, says that while it's usually safe to browse for gifts while using a public network, criminals often have software designed to pluck your sensitive information from the public airwaves. It's usually best to wait until you are home or on a secure network to whip out the credit card. ·

Safe URLs

Hackers will often add to the end of URLs and lead you to dangerous sites that are easily unnoticed, cautions an AVG representative. Regardless of the device that you are shopping on (mobile, laptop or desktop), ensure the address is secure and begins with "https" and has a padlock before inputting your billing information.

Log out

Hijackers can tap into your shopping sessions if you leave them open after completing a transaction. Remind yourself to completely log out and make it a best practice.

Too good to be true?

That's because it is. Crazy discounts and deals are the easiest lures used by online scammers to attract thrifty shoppers. Having one of those "I know but this is a REALLY good deal" moments? Use link-scanning software like AVG FREE Anti-Virus to help determine the authenticity of the vendor's website.

Keep your private information private

Create a separate email account just for shopping and use a unique password. Keep records of your online shopping by printing confirmation pages and email confirmations.

Mix up your passwords

Each email, bank and credit card account should have a unique password. Write them down and store them in a secure location.

Check your bank accounts often

This is so easy to do online and if there is a problem, you will know almost immediately. Don't delay on this -- you'd be amazed how quickly a problem can spiral.

More safety online related reading

Quiz: Are you safe online?
Safety tips: Online Shopping and banking

Tags: shopping online

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