Here are 6 tips to keep in mind as you venture online to finish up your holiday shopping this year. Following this advice will not only keep your personal information safe, but will also ensure your bank account stays secure and air-tight from scammers.

  • You may be seeing more and more text spam. Even if it looks like it’s coming from a reliable source, don’t trust it. These schemes get more convincing every day. Instead, go to the retailer’s website to confirm the sale is a real thing.
  • This one is simple. Make sure the URL for the site you’re buying from starts with HTTPS and not just HTTP. The lack of an “S” means that your transaction on that site will not be secure. Many web browsers will alert you of this as well. Heed their warning.
  • Keep your device protected with some kind of antivirus software. There are many on the market, so shop around to see what works for you. But any line of defense during this time of the year will help ensure you’re keeping your vital information locked down.
  • Try not to use your debit card. Sure, no one wants to rack up debt for the holidays, but you don’t have the same kind of recourse around fraudulent charges with your debit card as you do with a credit card. Loading up a pre-paid card is an alternative option here as well.
  • If it’s not Amazon or another reputable site, don’t set up an account. Sometimes you find that one-of-a-kind, perfect gift on a specialty site that you’ve never purchased from before. No problem. Just don’t set up an account, no matter how persuasive they are about it. If they are nefarious characters, you’d be giving them even more of your personal data. No reason to compromise yourself even further. Check out as a guest.
  • We all love to multi-task, but sipping and shopping at your local coffee shop could turn out to be a bad combo. Using a public WiFi connection could easily make your personal data available to nearby hackers. Using your phone as a mobile hotspot is another way you could go to stay safe.

So, be safe online this year. Keep these 6 ideas in mind and make it much less easy for those looking to steal your identity, money, and information.