Use these secure online shopping tips December 2 and beyond

Few days generate more online excitement than Cyber Monday, and safe online shopping practices can ensure the buzz is good. Let's face it, cybercriminals are a step ahead, so secure online shopping tips can make all the difference between a happy holiday and one that causes big financial issues.

So, what can you, as a consumer, do to protect your financial information, your identity and your online presence? Check out these tips from the experts at Locknet Managed IT, to ensure a safe online shopping experience this cyber Monday and throughout the holiday season.

Here's how to keep yourself and your data safe on Cyber Monday

Staying safe online is a must, and it's the perfect time to think about secure online shopping tips, with the holiday shopping season upon us. After all, nearly a quarter of online spending happens from now through the end of the year. That's a lot of holiday cheer! So, let's take a closer look at the steps you can take to protect yourself and your data for safe surfing and spending.

Don't shop in public

And by that we mean, don't shop on an open Wi-Fi network. You wouldn't display your credit cards for just anyone to see and use as they wish, would you? Using public Wi-Fi makes it easy for cybercriminals to steal your information. Keep in mind it's never a great idea to use public Wi-Fi for online shopping or to access secure websites. Opportunists may be watching and waiting for the perfect moment to grab your data.

Buy from retailers you know and trust

There may be some new names in the spending space this time of year, and no matter how great they appear, it's always safest to make your online purchases from companies you know and trust. Whether they have bricks and mortar locations or not, if it's a trusted name, you'll be safer than if you buy from a new kid on the proverbial block. Remember, you're sharing your credit card and/or debit card information with these sites, as well as your personal info. You don't want to share that information with just anyone.

Want to buy from a new site? Do some research.

In a perfect world, you would always know who is selling you a cup of holiday cheer. But the online shopping landscape changes quickly. If you simply must buy from a company you don't know much about, do some research before sharing your personal information. Check out online reviews from customers, over a number of review sites. Check out their online presence outside of their website, including social accounts. You may even want to contact the company to make sure they're legit.

If the prices are too good to be true, be wary

You've heard the old adage, "if it seems too good to be true, it probably is." This advice holds true for the online shopping space as well. A great price doesn't always mean a great deal, and in fact a price that is unbelievable should raise a red flag for you. Take great care when you see such deals, as you could be buying from a cybercrime mastermind.

Further protect yourself

Put extra barriers in place to make it difficult for others to steal your data. You can do this by using a Virtual Private Network, known as a VPN, which encrypts your data. You should also practice good cyber hygiene by using strong passwords that are complex and difficult to hack. Make sure you use different passwords across different sites--as the first thing hackers will do is test your password in other locations.

Check your account statements

Be diligent on both the front and back end, to ensure your accounts are safe. Be sure to check your account balances and statements regularly. If you see any suspicious activity or strange charges, report them immediately to your financial institution.

Safe Online Shopping Begins with You

Cyber Monday can be great fun, and certainly there are great deals to be had. But ensuring the safety and security of your data rests on your shoulders. Hopefully with these secure online shopping tips, you'll be a step ahead of hackers, so you can ho, ho, ho all the way through the holiday.

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