1. Do not use public Wi-Fi for any shopping activity.
Public Wi-Fi can potentially grant hackers' access to your usernames, passwords, texts and emails. For instance, before you join a public Wi-Fi titled "Apple__Store," be sure there's actually an Apple Store in your vicinity and confirm that it is a legitimate network.
2. Look for the lock symbol on websites.
Look for the “lock” symbol before entering any personal and/or credit card information when visiting websites. The lock may appear in the URL bar, or elsewhere in your browser. Additionally, check that the URL for the website has “https” in the beginning. These both indicate that the site uses encryption to protect your data.
3. Know what the product should cost.
If the deal is too good to be true, then it may be a scam. Sites like ResellerRatings.com allow consumers to write reviews about their online service experience with companies they purchase from. This will give you an indication of what to expect when making an online purchase from these stores, and you can help others by sharing your experience with an online review.
4. Keep your computer secure.
Remember to keep your Anti-virus software up to date and apply all software patches. Never save usernames, passwords or credit card information in your browser and periodically clear your offline content, cookies and history. You will want to keep your computer as clean as possible for online shopping so that you don’t accidently make your data a special gift to cybercriminals.
5. Don’t leave purchases in the car unattended.
Criminals can be watching and will consider breaking into your car to get the merchandise you just purchased. If you must leave some items in your car, consider putting them in the trunk or glove compartment rather than in a visible location, and always remember to lock your vehicle doors.
6. Beware of “porch pirates”.
Make sure you’re always tracking the delivery status of your online purchases. The US Postal Service, FedEX and UPS all have systems so you can track your items through delivery. However, the only surefire way to thwart porch pirates is to not have packages delivered to your home at all. Consider having your holiday packages delivered to a family member, your workplace, or a trusted neighbor!
Remember, always trust your instincts. Happy Holidays and safe shopping!