As the holiday season quickly approaches, I thought it appropriate to share some tips I’ve talked about in the past to keep your online holiday shopping safe and to help prevent fraud on any of your accounts. That leads to my first tip:

  • Consolidate all of your online purchases onto a single credit card; when you get your monthly statement it will be much easier to recognize any fraudulent charges.
  • Don’t download any software programs from a shopping site – modern browsers have all the software you will need for routine cyber-shopping. If a site asks you to download software, leave the site and close your browser because the site is most likely trying to trick you into downloading malware onto your system.
  • Don’t enter your credit card number or any personal information into any web page that doesn’t show the encryption lock or https://: in the beginning of the URL (web site address). That https tells your browser to send your content across Internet in an encrypted form so your credit card and other sensitive information can’t be read or intercepted in transit. The encryption lock icon is the symbol for HTTPS encryption.
  • Setup notifications for your card that you get notified immediately when there is a purchase – it’s good to check your statement monthly but you should never get a purchase notification if you didn’t actually just buy something.
  • Before cyber-shopping, make sure your anti-virus software is up to date.