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Tips for shopping online safely

Yesterday was Cyber Monday and many of us took to the web to get are Christmas shopping started in earnest. While online shopping can save you from hours spent in traffic and on long department store lines, it can also open you up to fraud and identity theft. Here are a few things to do to keep your online purchases safe this holiday season.

Make sure the site is legit

Hackers will often try to ape popular site in order to trick you into making purchases. Always check out a website thoroughly before entering any personal information. Beware of any site that uses extensions like .cc, .cn or .ru as most legitimate retailers only uses addresses that end in .com

Only shop from a personal computer

When making online purchases avoid using a public computer, like the ones found in libraries and coffee shops. These computers provide easy network access for computer hackers that can infect the system with keystroke loggers or spyware making your personal information extremely vulnerable.

Make sure the site is secure

Before entering personal information or making purchases check to see that the site is secure by looking for a ‘https’ or small padlock icon in the bottom right corner of the browser, these indicate that the site has a certificate which verifies it as an online retailer. If a site doesn’t list a contact number or you receive a pop-up warning it is a good idea to take your business somewhere else.

Avoid using debit cards

Debit cards don’t offer you the same level of protection as credit cards when it comes to fraud or undelivered goods. PayPal also provides a better level of protection when purchasing from sites like eBay, still allowing you to pay with a bank account without the risk of sending a check in the mail.

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