(NC) Now that online shopping has become commonplace, the holiday season is an ideal time for fraudsters. That’s why it’s important to be vigilant when searching online for deals or the perfect gift.

Here are some tips for protecting your personal information when shopping online:

  1. Shop only on secure websites. Double check that the website address begins with “https://” (the “s” stands for “secure”).
  2. Pay by credit card whenever possible. Never send cash.
  3. Beware of offers that seem too good to be true. The market is teeming with counterfeits.
  4. When shopping online, do not use public Wi-Fi. Make sure you shop from home or from your mobile device through your data plan.
  5. No matter how long the site’s privacy policy may be, it is important to read it to understand how your personal information will be used.
  6. Like many other Canadians, you have most likely received emails asking for your financial information or telling you that you have received a money transfer. Never reply to this type of message and do not click on links that seem suspicious; otherwise you risk exposing your financial information. Honest companies do not request this type of information in this way.
  7. Check your credit card statements and make sure there are no unauthorized charges.
  8. Never allow a website to save your credit card or password information, or any other personal information. Although allowing it saves you time when opening your accounts, it can be dangerous if hackers manage to access them.

Find more tips at canada.ca/money.