If you’re planning to replace or supplement your Black Friday shopping with Cyber Monday e-commerce, you’re not alone. Last year, online transactions on Cyber Monday totaled more than $6.5 billion, making it the most money ever spent on the notable shopping day.

While you won’t be battling crowds at a shopping mall, Cyber Monday brings its own safety and security concerns. To keep your personal information out of the hands of cyber criminals this holiday season, abide by these online shopping tips.

1. Plan Your Online Shopping Approach Ahead of Time

Plenty of articles surface ahead of Cyber Monday informing you of the best deals and where to find them. Know your plan before you sit down to shop so you don’t rush through the process and make missteps, like:

  • Accidentally clicking unscrupulous banner ads or pop-ups, also known as “malvertising.” Malvertising is a form of malware where cyber criminals embed virus-laden code into ads, then pay to run those ads on reputable websites, such as Google.
  • Missing telltale signs of fake websites. Always look for the “https” and lock symbol, which indicate a secure site, in your browser’s window when you’re shopping online. Websites without these indicators or with questionable URLs containing extra characters could be fake sites set up to steal your information.
  • Confusing phishing emails with real ones. Cyber Monday email alerts are one of the best ways to know what your favorite brands are featuring on sale. However, if you’re rushing to see every email in your inbox, you could fall victim to phishing emails. Click a link in a phishing email, and your private information could be compromised.

2. Access the Internet Safely

Depending on your schedule, you may be taking advantage of Cyber Monday deals while on the go. While convenient, it could make you susceptible to hackers. Avoid the risk by:

  • Connecting only to secure WiFi networks. If you’re in a public place, like an airport or coffee shop, avoid shopping online. These networks can be easily hacked, and cyber criminals can steal your credit card and other personal information.
  • Using a VPN (virtual private network). VPNs offer a secure connection for your laptop or mobile device. You can easily download a reputable VPN in your app store.

3. Be Smart About Your Payment Methods

Hackers on Cyber Monday are likely looking to steal your credit card information. When you shop online, keep them at bay and keep your money safe by making smart purchasing choices, like:

  • Using a credit card, not a debit card, for online purchases. Debit cards give a hacker access to your entire checking account, where credit cards likely offer more fraud protection and have a spending limit.
  • Logging into a retailer’s site with a unique password. If you have or create a profile on a retailer’s website for your Cyber Monday shopping, make a new password for each account. If a hacker obtains one of your passwords, they’ll likely try it on other websites, too.
  • Checking out on a fake shopping app. Fake apps can exist alongside real retailer apps in your app store and often look legitimate, but as soon as you input your personal information, it will be stolen. To avoid this scam, download retailer apps straight from the retailer’s website as opposed to searching within the app store.

Are you looking for more ways to update your personal cyber security practices? Talk a security provider today.

How do you protect yourself on Cyber Monday? Share in the comments below.