(NC) — There are many reasons why Canadians do winter shopping online, including slippery roads, long lineups, and that sinking feeling when a stressed out shopper yanks the last item from a display in front of you. But with this convenience come certain risks. Cyber criminals do not take a holiday and are always looking for ways to nab personal information through fake e-commerce sites, purchasing scams and fraud.
To help you stay clear of those who are bound to be on Santa's naughty list, the federal government has advice for safe online shopping available at GetCyberSafe.ca.
Following these simple precautions tips will help keep your identity secure:
• Look for the lock symbol on the website or “https://” at the beginning of the website address (the “s” means “secure”), an indication that the site is encrypted.
• Don't use public Wi-Fi to shop online.
• Make sure your firewall is on.
• Be on the lookout for prices that are too good to be true. They could be counterfeits.
• Pay by credit card if you can. Do not send cash.
• Read your credit card statements and check for unauthorized charges.
• Consider using a separate credit card for online purchases, so it's easy to track.
• Don't respond to an email or pop-up message that asks for financial information. Legitimate companies don't ask for this information this way.
• Don't allow auto-fill for your passwords or personal information, like your address, and never allow a site to store your credit card information.