From scheduling a grocery store pick-up to sending gifts to your friends and family in just a few clicks, online shopping has got to be one of the most convenient services ever. The ability to shop online is ultimately a beneficial convenience, anything done on the internet can make you vulnerable to security risks.

When we shop online, we give sensitive information about ourselves. Our emails, passwords, and sometimes credit card details. Sometimes, simply being on the wrong site can jeopardize your device. Especially around the holidays, malicious hackers will target shoppers because they know that people are busy and not expecting it. Here are some tips on how you can avoid traps and enjoy your shopping peacefully.

Stick to Secure Sites and Apps Only

Who can resist an offer on their favorite products? A common trick hackers use is luring people in with enticing discounts on popular products and telling them to access the discount through a random link. The easiest way to check if a site is secure is to look at its link. Every secure site starts with an “https”. If you see “http” without the ‘s’ and any other variations, leave the site immediately.

Shopping apps are just like any other app. If you download it from an untrustworthy site, you get an untrustworthy app. Always download shopping apps from sites like Google Play Store or Apple App Store. It’s also helpful to look at reviews within the app store. If you go to download a shopping app from a national retail chain, and there are only 3 reviews, it’s likely a scam.

Update Your Software

Software update notifications may sometimes seem like a nuisance, but they can help safe guard your personal information. Updates are frequently provided to boost the security and functionality of apps. With most devices, you can automate software upgrades so that every time you are on a safe internet connection, available software updates are downloaded.

Remember to Log Out

Always lock your computer screen or log out when you exit a site. Don’t forget to always use a passcode to access your tablet or smartphone. Make sure to properly log out of any banking or retail websites before exiting. Although it’s convenient, don’t let your computer or device remember your usernames, passwords, or credit card information.

Never Shop on Public Networks

You can enjoy online shopping anywhere, but we recommend that you avoid shopping when you are on a public wi-fi network. Though convenient, public networks are rarely secure, and malicious hackers could be waiting on an opportunity to steal your personal information.

You don’t have to be uncomfortable with online shopping, but you must be careful. Nobody wants to wake up with a virus on their laptop, a negative bank balance, or worse, identity theft. Safe online shopping is possible! Stay diligent with these safety tips so that you can enjoy the many conveniences of our ever-evolving technology.