Holiday Online Shopping Tips

Holiday Online Shopping Tips

By Richard Okolo

The holidays are here! It’s that time of year that shoppers flock to the mall to purchase those Christmas gifts. To avoid the hustle and chaos of the local shopping centers, many shoppers are going online to purchase their gifts. With that in mind, we offer some tips to our e-commerce gift hunters this season:

1. Be sure that you are using a secure Internet connection before providing any personal information to e-commerce retailers. A secure connection will have a URL in your address bar that starts with “https” rather that “http”. Also look for a small padlock in the bottom corner of your screen. This will let you know that the website is using the latest security measures.

2. Some online shopping websites require that you provide a username and password. Make sure to create passwords that are unique (e.g. use combinations of letters, numbers or symbols). Be sure not to make passwords which can identify you (e.g. passwords which use your birthdate, phone number, address, social security number, etc).

3. Install a firewall to block malicious computer attacks. For users of Windows XP, Windows XP Service Pack 2 now has a firewall built in for your computer (available as a free download when you update your computer). (Note: We recommend using ZoneAlarm Pro. You can download a free trial version of the program at

4. Be aware of e-mail phishing scams which impersonate legitimate organizations in order to obtain your personal and financial information (e.g. credit card information, social security number, bank account numbers, etc). (Refer to our recent article “Avoiding Phishing Internet Scams“.)

5. After you surf the Internet, clear your memory cache. This way, no one will be able to have access to the sites that you visit. (You can use a free program called Disk Cleaner to do this. Download this program at

Happy Shopping!

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