With the holidays in a few weeks, shoppers everywhere are using their mobile and desktop devices for online purchases. While online shopping is a convenient option for holiday shopping, without the right precautions, shoppers personal data could be at risk.

Here are four tips for protecting personal information while shopping online this holiday season:

  1. Protect your passwords
    1. One of the most common ways users’ information is stolen is through compromised credentials. To avoid any information being stolen from online and app accounts, users are advised to use a variety of username and password combinations, and always keep passwords to highly sensitive information, such as finances, completely separate.
  2. Beware of links in emails
    1. Two of the most common malware scams this season are fake holiday cards and delivery notifications. Through this scam, a malicious source sends an email that contains a convincing link, either to a delivery notification or a greeting e-card, that contains malware. When checking emails, users should always verify the sender’s email is legitimate, and be wary of any links the email contains. To stay safe, always check delivery notifications through the retailer’s website, and only open holiday e-cards from trusted email addresses.
  3. Be wary with payment information
    1. A necessary evil of online shopping is providing payment information. A malicious source gaining access to credit or debit card information could lead to significant financial damage. When entering credit card information, users should always double and triple check the URL to verify its validity. Another alternative for safer online shopping is using a third-party payment service such as PayPal. Along with guarding credit and debit card information, users should routinely check statements to ensure no suspicious activity has slipped through the cracks.

Online shopping is a convenient alternative for purchasing gifts this holiday season. Although online retailers are an easy alternative for quick shopping, using online stores can pose some security threats. With the right preparations, users can online shop safely.