By - December 1, 2016

Shop smarter online this holiday season

Shopping Online

The holidays are typically a joyful time of giving and receiving. Unfortunately, many people get taken instead, especially when they use the internet for holiday shopping. Online fraud and phishing are two ways scammers can take advantage of unsuspecting consumers.

Merchants consider online fraud a major threat to their business, and 65 percent of adults worldwide have been a victim of cybercrime. Some red flags that indicate you might be dealing with a scammer include deals that sound too good to be true, gift card offers on social media sites and orders that require personal ID information, such as social security, passport or driver’s license numbers.

Phishing uses email to steal personal data, such as your user ID and password, or to install malware on your computer. Some common phishing scams involve emails with holiday e-cards or party invitations, as well as fake charities, travel notifications and package deliveries.

At home, you should delete any suspicious emails. At work, forward the email to and then delete it. Be sure to delete the email from your Deleted Items folder as well. If you unintentionally click on a link or open an attachment, contact the Computer Incident Response Team (CIRT) by email at or by phone at 1-866-994-CIRT.

Protect yourself online this holiday season with these tips.

  • Verify the sender of an email is someone you know or a trusted source. Do not reply to the sender’s email; contact them another way to verify their identity.
  • Think twice before opening links or attachments in emails containing travel arrangements, purchases and package delivery notices.
  • Shop only on trustworthy websites.
  • Look for https:// or a closed padlock in the web address to indicate you’re using a secure browser before giving personal or credit card information.
  • Be wary of sites that ask for personal information other than phone number or address when ordering products.
  • Ensure your anti-virus software is up to date.