Online shopping has become more popular than ever before. In 2020, more than 2 billion people bought products or services online. Whether they’re shopping online because it’s more convenient or avoiding going to brick-and-mortar retailers during the ongoing pandemic, more people are turning to online retailers every day.

It’s not just the convenience or health safety that’s drawing people to shop online; shopping this way has become more secure than ever before. However, that doesn’t mean all retail websites are created equal regarding safety and security. Hackers and scammers are still trying to get your information, but by taking the proper precautions, you have no reason to worry while shopping digitally.

If you plan on buying online this holiday season, here are five tips to protect your information.

Use Well-Known And Secure Sites

When purchasing a product or service online, you have thousands of options. To avoid having your personal information stolen, it’s best to use familiar sites such as Amazon, Walmart, or any other major retailers. You may be presented with meager prices if you search for a product on a search engine. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance these are not trustworthy sites. When it comes to online shopping, something is wrong if it seems too good to be true.

Pay attention to the security of the site you’re trying to purchase. Look for a lock icon in the browser bar. If the website has one, then you should be safe on their site. Another way to tell is by looking at the beginning of the web address. If it begins with “https” instead of “HTTP,” you are in good shape, and you can continue using the site. Secure websites help protect your financial information as well as passwords. Shopping at unsecured sites can put your personal information at risk.

Create Stronger Passwords

A strong password can make all the difference between your information remaining secure and someone stealing it. It would be best to make your passwords as complex as possible so that hackers and thieves can’t hack into your accounts. It’s best to use a complex mix of uppercase and lowercase letters while including special characters and numbers. Avoid using common spellings of words and personal information in your passwords because these can be easier to crack.

Use a password manager if you’re worried about not remembering a complex password. This tool will remember the passwords for your accounts while also keeping them protected. Utilizing password managers is the best way to create complex passwords since you won’t have to remember them personally, and they will still be protected.

Keep Track Of Your Statements

It would be best to watch your finances, but shopping online becomes even more critical. It’s a good habit to form and will help you catch overcharges or purchases you did not make. It’s also a good idea to only shop with a credit card online. If someone hacks into your account and steals your debit card information, they will have direct access to your money. In addition, most credit cards have protections in place for fraud so that you won’t be at fault for any errant charges on your account.

Protect Your Information

When entering a new website, you should be wary if they ask for any personal information upfront. For example, no online retailer should ever ask for your Social Security number unless you apply for a credit card on their site. Likewise, be cautious if they ask for your birthday as well. Hackers can use this information with your credit card number to wreak havoc on your life.

Don’t Shop On Public WiFi

While it might seem like an excellent way to keep yourself entertained while enjoying a coffee at a local café, shopping on public WiFi can leave you at risk of being hacked. Public WiFi is often not very secure, and entering your personal information can give hackers easy access. It’s much safer to bookmark the item and wait until you’re home or no longer using WiFi to make the purchase.

Shopping online can be as safe and reliable as shopping in a store if you take the proper precautions. Ensure that you follow the appropriate security measures before purchasing or entering any information.