Christmas is just around the corner! Many of you have already started making a list and looking for places where to buy Christmas gifts.

Online shopping has increased, possibly as a result of the pandemic. Many of you will choose to do your Christmas shopping online in order to avoid the spread of viruses and, of course, to avoid the upcoming holiday rush. But, before you add items to your cart and enter your credit or debit card information, there are a few things you should know about online shopping.

So, here are a few things to remember:

  1. Ditch your debit card

Debit cards are easier to hack because they are linked to your bank account. Whereas credit cards have better protection and are less liable if a card number gets stolen. Also, when it comes to getting back the money stolen (if it does happen), credit card companies can reverse the charges once reported, but with debit cards, you may have to wait for a while to get it returned. 

     2. Use a reliable merchant

Before you even scroll around for the product you wish to buy, check if the site is legitimate. First, ask your friends or family if they have ever used this site to purchase products. Second, read reviews about the site to check if other customers had a good shopping experience. Once you’re comfortable that this website is safe, you can finally check off your shopping list!

     3. Look out for exciting deals

You’ve probably seen amazing deals pop up on your social media feed. If they are too good to be true then it is most likely a scam. The deals that pop up on your social media feed will lead you to a fake site, which is set up to snag your personal information or steal your money.

     4. Update your anti-virus software

Malicious software and new strains can keep on appearing on your system. That is why it is important to make sure that you always have the most recent anti-virus software installed. Malicious software or malware includes viruses, adware, spyware, browser hijacking software, and fake security software. All of this can threaten your privacy. 

     5. Check statements regularly

Now that we are entering the Christmas season make sure you check all your electronic statements as often as you can. The most important thing to look out for are fraudulent charges, they can sometimes originate from PayPal. Once you see an unknown transaction contact your bank immediately. 

6. Review the return and refund policies

Another way to check if the site you are buying from is legit is to check their FAQ (Frequently Answered Questions. Find out how you can return or refund your items. There should be answers on the site, if not try contacting the merchant before you proceed with shopping. 

     7. Avoid using public WIFI

It is much easier for hackers to get hold of all your information, from emails to credit card information and security credentials. This is because public WIFI doesn’t require any authentication and allows hackers to easily access unsecured devices

     8. Use strong passwords

Prioritize a stronger password over an easy-to-remember one to prevent your private information from getting into the hands of hackers. Try not to use common passwords such as birthdays, anniversaries, your pet’s name, and other obvious ones. Instead choose passwords that include numbers, letters, and symbols. And most importantly, use a different password for each account otherwise criminals can also access your other accounts.

     9. Limit information shared

If the merchant is asking for too much information then they are supposed to make sure you cancel the transaction and don’t go ahead with it. It is important to not autosave your information either so that your data cannot be used by hackers. 

     10. Be aware of email scams

You may receive emails or messages telling you there is a problem with your delivery. If you do not recognize who the sender is, it is best not to open the message and delete it immediately. If you open the link or attachment in the message you could accidentally download a virus or malware


Online Christmas shopping saves you more time than your past shopping experiences. Don’t let online shopping add more stress to your life by making simple mistakes when online shopping. Always stay aware and be extra careful when making any purchases. 

Ardent Networks Inc. is an IT solutions and distributor. They work with SecureAge, which specializes in providing solutions for cybersecurity. Learn more about how SecureAge can help protect you when you do your online shopping.