The holidays are right around the corner and for most of us that means holiday shopping.

If you’re like many people, you’ll likely end up doing some of your shopping online. When doing so, it’s important to take precautions to help reduce the chances of identity theft or an online hack.

At Starion Bank, we value providing education on potential cybercrimes and fraud. That’s why we put together these tips to help minimize your risk when shopping online this holiday season.

Make sure you’re using a secure website. 

Whenever possible, type in a store’s URL rather than clicking on a link. Also, look for "https" in the URL which tells you that the site is secure. You can also look for a green padlock symbol.

Shop from websites you know and trust. 

If you see an ad for a holiday sweater on Facebook and the price is too good to be true, the odds are it is. If you are questioning the validity of a merchant, check with the Better Business Bureau or the Federal Trade Commission.

Evaluate email links and pop-ups. 

Beware of links from unfamiliar websites, and look for any typos in the URL. It may be a phishing scheme, where shoppers who click on a link are led to a false site developed to steal their information. When in doubt, take precaution.

Pay online with one card. 

It’s safest to pay online with the same card because it reduces the chances of fraud affecting all of your accounts. Setting up a PayPal account is another option that keeps you from reentering your card number for each purchase.

Don’t auto-save your personal information.

If you’re given the option to have a website store your personal and financial information, opt not to. The hassle of reentering your information is worth saving yourself from potential financial fraud.

Secure your mobile device.

If you’re shopping from your phone or tablet, make sure it’s password protected in case it’s lost or stolen.

Password protection.

An easy way to protect yourself from a hacker is by making sure each of your passwords is at least ten characters and includes numbers, special characters and both upper and lower case letters.

Avoid public computers, WiFi and hotspots.

You may be trying to save data by using WiFi or a hotspot at a coffee shop, but this creates a risk of someone gaining access to your device or tracking your activities.

Keep current on updates. 

Always make sure your devices, software, antivirus protection and apps are up-to-date.

Secure your personal information. 

Don't share your personal or financial information via email or text.

Further Information. 

We are here to be a resource for you. Our personal banking team is happy to answer any of your questions, or learn more about online and financial security. Happy holidays and safe shopping!