Online shopping is convenient but makes it easier to come across scammers. If you are doing most of your Christmas shopping online, here are five tips to keep in mind from the National Cyber Security Alliance. 

Research before purchasing

The first thing is first: do your research. Check trusted sources like the Better Business Bureau and other online platforms to ensure you are buying from an actual company. It’s also a good idea to read customer reviews before making a purchase. See if they have a physical location and customer service information. If you have any doubts, call the store to confirm they are a real merchant. 

Use a secure wi-fi network

Avoid using public wi-fi when making a purchase; while it is convenient, it is not a secure network. You can also use a virtual private network or your phone’s hotspot. You can always save items in your cart for later so you can make your purchase at home.

Try using credit, not debit

Consider using different payment options, like a credit card instead of a debit card. Credit cards have more consumer protection in case anything bad happens. Or use a third-party payment service, so you don’t have to give card information directly. 

Recordkeeping your expenses

Be sure to keep track of your credit card and bank statements and look for any unauthorized activity. Some credit card companies can set up alerts or emails with details about transactions. Good recordkeeping helps manage cyber security. 

Be careful what you “click” for

Don’t respond to emails that seem suspicious. If there is a good author, see if it came from the retailer with a web address matching the online store. A good rule of thumb is if it is too good to be true, it probably is. 

Don’t be fooled by a scammer this holiday season; Follow these tips when shopping for your loved ones.