Because we’re in the holiday season, we’re likely shopping online at a fever’s pitch to get every last present we need at the best deals possible. Cyber scammers know this and will take advantage of unsuspecting shoppers at every chance they get.

However, you can protect yourself by using a combination of the following tips and tricks: 

1. Look at the address bar at the top of your browser and compare to the following example:
How to determine if you are shopping on a safe website

1. There should be a green lock symbol
2. This website is ideally using ‘https:’ instead of just ‘http:’

The ‘s‘ added to ‘https‘ means secure. Communications between your browser and the website are encrypted which is a safer environment for online transactions. On the other hand, ‘Http’ leaves all communications in ‘plain text’, meaning if an attacker manages to infiltrate the connection between your browser and the website you’re using they’ll see the raw data.

2. Get an Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware program and run a scan before making any online transactions.

If you’ve ever noticed the homepage on your web browser has changed, you are getting unsolicited pop-ups wherever you go, or have a new program or toolbar you didn’t install; you likely have malware.

Malware can contain keyloggers that will steal your information like username/password combinations and credit card numbers. The best option to protect yourself is to have a good Anti-Virus/Anti-Malware program that is up-to-date and has been running scans daily.

Below I’ve included PC Mag’s most recommended Free and Paid Anti-Virus/Anti-Malware Programs:

PC Magazine’s – Free AV/AM Software List
PC Magazine’s – Paid AV/AM Software List

Check Out Part 2 to learn more about how to protect yourself during the holidays!


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