Individual shopping on Laptop with cyber icons coming off a phone. Image wrapped in holiday colors with snowflake.

People are predicted to shop online this holiday season more than ever before, and with that comes new challenges to your security. Data breaches and identity theft is still a major concern, and scammers seem to be in every nook and cranny of the internet. To stay secure while shopping online, be sure to follow these safety tips.


To stay secure while still enjoying the benefits of shopping from the comfort of your couch, follow these online shopping tips:


Be Sure the site is secure.
Look for https (instead of http) at the beginning of the website address, and/or a padlock icon at the beginning of the address bar. This means the site has an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate, which provides an encrypted connection and verifies the website owner is legit.

Stick with what you know.
Sure, it's fun to explore new websites and vendors, but it's also a bit risky. If you can only find the perfect gift for Cousin Benedict at a little website you stumbled across almost by accident, be sure to look for alternate ways to contact them, such as a physical address or phone number.

Beware of spoofers.
You probably shop at Amazon.com; if you received an email with a link to Amazon.net, would you notice? If you saw a link to Wallmart.com, would you realize it's not the retail giant because the name is misspelled? These are tricks that online thieves use to get you to their website and get your financial and personal information.

Use a VPN or secure wifi.
Mobile hotspots are generally not secure and can be tapped into by cyber-savvy criminals. According to a poll by PCMag[2], only 26% of people know they should use a virtual private network (VPN) service when using public wifi.

Keep your anti virus software up to date.
Seems like a no-brainer, but if you're not getting updates, you're not well protected. Plus, you should be choosing strong passwords that are difficult to hack.


Be sure to use these tips to help be safer when holiday shopping this year. We want your season to be merry and bright. Need some more tips? Review our Security Center page to find more about scams, spoofers and tips to keep safe!


If you’ve spotted a scam, be sure to record it at ftc.gov/complaint. If you need more information about these top frauds, visit our Security Center on our website or watch our How to Spot a Scam videos on YouTube. You can also go to ftc.gov/imposters and ftc.gov/giftcards.

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