There are several recommended good practices for consumers to protect themselves this holiday season. Some of these include:
Use reputable sites that are familiar and which have good reputations for shopping.
Do not follow unsolicited links or download attachments from unknown sources.
Maintain awareness of current scams and latest cyber trends.
If using social media sites with links to good deals always check the link prior
to clicking on it.
Refrain from shopping on WI-FI hot spots which do not have much security; anyone can access any kind of data there.
Ensure that the sites asking for payment card information are secure sites (https not http). Observe and verify charges on credit card statements are legitimate charges.
Pay by credit card, not debit card. Pay with a credit card rather than debit card. Debit cards do not have the same consumer protections as credit cards.
Use one-time or Gift Credit Cards
Use passwords. It's one of the simplest and most important steps to take in securing your devices, computers and accounts. Use a unique password for every unique site.
Do not respond to pop-ups. When a window pops up promising you cash or gift cards for answering a question or taking a survey, close it by pressing Control + F4 for Windows and Command + W for Macs.
Do not auto-save your personal information. When purchasing online, you may be given the option to save your personal information online for future use. Consider if the convenience is really worth the risk.
There are a number of sites that are available for consumers that also can assist with protecting personal and payment information
Your State Attorney General's Office - www.naag.org/current-attorneys-general.php
Your State Consumer Agency - http://www.usa.gov/directory/stateconsumer/index.shtml
The Better Business Bureau - www.bbb.org
The Federal Trade Commission - http://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov