In this day and age, avoiding online shopping during the holiday season is nearly impossible. Many of the best deals are found online, so it can be hard to resist. Thankfully, there’s no reason you should stay away from the discounts, provided you follow a few simple guidelines. These 5 safe online holiday shopping tips will allow you to shop with piece of mind that you and your information is protected.

Only Shop On Secure Websites

We know, it sounds like common sense. However, if you don’t know where to look, you may not be certain of a site’s security. The easiest way is to look for a URL that begins with ‘https’. The ‘s’ is the important part as it stands for ‘secure’. Any website with this type of URL will be safe to purchase through. Another way to find out if a site is secure is to look for a lock icon which will generally be found to the left of the URL field. This indicates that the website provides a secure connection, so shop away!

Only Purchase Through Secure Networks

Many of us are signed up for newsletters from our favorite online retailers which offer amazing deals. Many of us browse our favorite sites daily looking for discounted items. Have you ever been out and about and run across a deal you just couldn’t pass up while on your phone? If so, you need to be aware of the network you’re using if you decide to make the purchase. For example, if you’re using public WiFi at a coffee shop and you purchase an item, your personal and payment info is sent through this public network. Others have access to this network and with a little know-how, your information can be scraped by someone with ill intentions. Only make purchases through a secure network to ensure the safety of your information.

Pay With A Credit Card

When shopping online, actually when shopping anywhere, it’s best to purchase with a credit card. Yes, your debit card most likely has a Visa or Mastercard logo, but using it as a debit card doesn’t offer you the same liability protection. Using a credit card, most institutions provide you with zero liability for fraudulent purchases. However, you only have $50 worth of protection against unauthorized purchases with a debit card. So, use a credit card or your debit card as a credit card when purchasing online. This is one of the most important of our 5 safe online holiday shopping tips.

Make Sure Someone Is Available To Receive Your Packages

During the holidays, thieves will scan neighborhoods for packages stranded on front porches. If you’re at work and have your packages delivered at home, make sure someone is there to receive the package. If this isn’t possible, have the package sent to your work or someplace secure like an Amazon Locker.

Watch Your Bank Statements

Most folks do their most spending during the holidays, so your bank statements can be quite lengthy. This can also make it easy to miss an unauthorized charge. Take time to investigate your statements and do it frequently. The faster you spot fraudulent activity, the better. You can set up alerts through your online banking which will send you a text or e-mail when a purchase is made with your card. This will allow you to quickly spot a fraudulent charge so you can report it to your banking institution.

We hope that these 5 safe online holiday shopping tips will let you scoop up great deals while feeling protected. Happy shopping and a wonderful holiday season to you and yours.