Stay safe while online shopping this holiday season with these 6 cybersecurity tips!And just like that, it is again the most wonderful time of the year!

This time of the year means that individuals will undoubtedly make purchases online to avoid the long queues at brick-and-mortar stores. The swell in online purchasing is good for small businesses and bargain hunters alike. In that sense, you could say that buying for the holidays online has become a ritual in its own right, just like going caroling and decorating Christmas trees.

However, due to the high volume of Christmas spending, fraudulent actors like hackers and scammers have seized the chance to enrich themselves. Thus, you must know how to protect yourself from online threats when you shop online.

This article will feature six tips to keep you safe while shopping online.

1. Instead of Going to Websites via Links, Try Going to the Websites Directly

The social engineering techniques used by cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated. As a result, you should only conduct business with trustworthy online merchants. Ideally, you only want to purchase from companies you know and trust. Make sure that you bookmark all of your preferred shopping websites so that you can access them quickly and easily.

Additionally, you should avoid typing in the retailer's name in your browser's address bar. This tip works because even a minor misspelling could lead you to a fraudulent website that has an identical appearance to the genuine one. Unfortunately, when you make a "purchase" on a website that is not authentic, you run the risk of unknowingly handing cybercriminals your credit card number as well as other sensitive information.

2. Be Wary of Emails and Social Media Ads Promising Deep Discounts

Keep in mind that if an offer seems too good to be true, there is a good chance it is not true.

The FBI discovered that many websites that were the subject of its most recent wave of complaints were marketed on emails and social media platforms. Therefore, before making a purchase, price shop. You may have stumbled into a fraudulent website designed to steal your personal information or money if the prices on the site are much lower than you would expect.

3. Employ a DNS Filter to Prevent Access to Malicious Websites

DNS filtering is a method that prevents you from accessing particular websites or IP addresses that have been flagged as potentially malicious.

After activating a DNS filter, you can browse the Internet with the peace of mind that the filter will protect you from accessing malicious websites by directing you to a "block page" that explains why you are getting blocked from accessing the website.

When you use DNS filtering, you are, in essence, erecting a barrier between yourself and malicious websites that could ultimately acquire your personal information.

4. Delete any Details Regarding Your Credit Card Immediately Following Your Purchase

There appears to be an increase in data leaks in online retail today. At least once every week, you should look over your bank and credit card statements to identify any potentially fraudulent charges. You also can set up account notifications, which will notify you of any new activity on your card.

Moreover, keeping your credit card information online can have adverse effects, such as an increased likelihood of being a victim of fraud. Unauthorized purchases can occur using your account if your card information is retained and the password to your account gets hacked. (Disturbingly, getting into your account is surprisingly simple for people who hack for a living.)

Therefore, removing your credit card details as soon as you have finished checking out is a good idea.

5. When at All Possible, Make Payments Through PayPal or Other Online Wallet Sites

When making an online purchase, your financial details must remain safe. The "wallet" function for online stores protects business owners by preventing credit card fraud. Wallet transactions verify the customer's identity and collect payment immediately, eliminating payment complications in case of a last-minute cancellation, fraudulent damage, or return claim.

Trust that legitimate wallet sites, such as:

Trusting only these and other reputable wallet sites will help you keep your financial transactions safe. Whether you are engaging in online commerce, sending money, or making purchases using your debit or credit cards online.

6. Do Not Shop Online on an Unsecured or Public Network

While enjoying a latte at your go-to coffee shop, you should avoid online purchasing while connecting to free public Wi-Fi. The person at the table next to you intently staring at his phone might be a hacker monitoring your internet activity.

Regardless, when you sign into a public Wi-Fi, you allow everyone around you to see everything you're doing and even take control of your device. So, you must remain on a closed network that you own when you do your online shopping. Save your online holiday shopping for the comfort of your home instead of out in public.

Notably, when you shop online, you frequently have to give out information such as your name, address, and credit card number, all of which an identity thief would love to get their hands on. Any information you enter on a public network is vulnerable to being stolen since public networks do not have security measures to prevent unauthorized access. Thus, you should never log in to banking websites or payment websites such as PayPal on a public network. Additionally, you should ensure that you have logged out of banking and payment websites on mobile devices before connecting to a public network.

It is good that most of today's browsers will alert you whenever they detect an unprotected connection.


When you go online to do your holiday shopping, there is a good chance that you may come across some unfamiliar websites. The holiday season brings out an unfortunately high number of scam websites.

If you follow these guidelines for secure online purchasing, you may be able to foil the schemes of scheming fraudsters and prevent yourself from falling prey to cybercriminals in the first place.