Tips to help keep your financial and personal information secure when shopping online.
- Be mindful of holiday phishing scams. Cybercriminals often copy well-recognized branding into fake messages, such as order confirmations and package delivery notices. Avoid clicking on links in an email or text message. Instead, type the link into your browser or go directly to the retailer or shipper’s website.
- Shop reputable, trustworthy retailers. If you are unfamiliar with the retailer, research the company and read the reviews before making a purchase. Some cybercriminals have a flare for forging legitimate-looking websites.
- Check that the website is secure. Before placing an order, look for “https” in the website address—the “s” stands for secure—and a small image of a padlock. Don’t share information on an unsecured website.
- Use credit cards or a reputable online payment service. Do not use debit cards or send a check.
- Be wary of online sellers who do not accept credit cards. Do not buy anything from online sellers that insist you can only pay with gift cards, by wire transfers or with cryptocurrency.
- Only use secure Wi-Fi when sharing financial and personal information. If you need to use an unsecured network or public Wi-Fi (hotspot), be sure to connect to a virtual private network (VPN) first. Otherwise, your information may be accessible to other users.
- Trust your instinct. If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Resources for more information