Holiday Shopping Safety Tips

Man holding credit card while using laptop computer

Understand the Risks with the Following Online Shopping Safety Tips

The Holidays are approaching and it’s time to go shopping for those special gifts. Last year, consumers spent a holiday season record $42.3 billion online in 2012.* With so much personal financial information out there, instances of identity theft are on the rise.

Anyone who shops online is vulnerable to having their identity compromised. The proper precautions combined with identity theft protection are your strongest safeguards in protecting your credit and preventing the financial ruin that can be caused when an identity is stolen.

To help protect your identity when you’re shopping online this holiday season, Protection 1 offers the following holiday shopping safety tips:

Shop Trusted Names

Stick with sites like, or other familiar retailers. Beware of misspellings or domain names using “.net” instead of “.com” as that is one of the most common ways scammers trick consumers.

Look for the Lock

A secure website starts with https:// instead of http://. Secure sites will also have a small lock icon in the lower-right corner of the screen. Never give anyone your credit card through email. PayPal, however, is still a good, safe way to make a payment.

Don’t Share Too Much

An extremely important online shopping safety tip is keeping your personal information protected. No store needs your social security number or your birthday. In the hands of the wrong person, combined with your credit card number, serious damage can be done. Always give up the least amount of personal information possible.

Check Billing Statements

Check statements for credit and debit cards as well as checking accounts regularly. If you see any charges you don’t recognize, address the matter immediately. Don’t pay credit card bills until you know all your charges are accurate. You have 30 days to notify the bank or card issuer of problems. After that, you might be liable for the charges.

Use Stronger Passwords

With so many online accounts—banking, credit cards, email—it’s common practice to recycle simple passwords that can be easily recalled. Use uncrack-able passwords, especially when banking and shopping. Your password is weak if:

  • It uses numbers or letters in the order they appear on the keyboard (“1234” or “qwerty”)
  • It’s the name of your kids, pet, favorite team, or city of birth
  • It’s your birthday, anniversary, date of graduation, or car license plate number
  • It’s “letmein,” or, especially, “password.”

Think Mobile

The National Retail Federation predicts that 25 percent of adults will do online browsing with their smartphones to find gifts. Buck this trend and download store-specific apps like those for and make your purchase without going to their website.

Stay at Home

A holiday shopping safety tip that many people don’t consider is you can easily do your holiday shopping from the safety of your home. Doing all your online shopping at home is beneficial because you know that your purchases are being made on a trusted, secure network.

Enroll in an Identity Theft Protection Service

Having a service provider you trust is important. Advanced technology and helpful customer service are “musts” for identifying and remedying any fraud issues. Protection 1 is now offering identity theft protection in every new HomeCore SolutionSM home security package.

By following these simple holiday shopping safety tips and preparing for the worst, you can help to ensure your family—and your property—remain safe year-round.