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Online Shopping Safely: Cybersecurity Tips for the Holidays

With the holiday season just around the corner, the online shopping frenzy is about to kick off. As we celebrate Cybersecurity Awareness Month, it's the perfect time to share valuable tips on how to shop online safely, protecting your finances and personal information.

Secure Payment Methods

1. Use Trusted Websites: Stick to well-known and reputable online retailers. Check for secure website indicators such as "https://" and a padlock icon in the browser's address bar.

2. Credit Cards Over Debit Cards: When making online purchases, use credit cards rather than debit cards. Credit cards offer better fraud protection, and you won't risk direct access to your bank account.

Recognizing Fake Websites

3. Beware of Phishing: Be cautious of unsolicited emails or links from unknown sources. Verify the authenticity of websites by double-checking the URL for typos or suspicious elements.

4. Check Reviews and Ratings: Before buying from a new online store, read reviews and check ratings from other customers to ensure legitimacy.

5. Advertisements: Be wary of any Sponsored Advertisements when using search engines as they are often used to steal username/passwords or distribute malware.

Protecting Personal Information

5. Limit Sharing: Only provide the minimum required personal information during checkout. Avoid sharing unnecessary details.

6. Use Strong Passwords: Ensure your online shopping accounts have strong, unique passwords to prevent unauthorized access.

Securing Your Devices

7. Update Software: Keep your computer, smartphone, and antivirus software up to date. Updates often include security patches.

8. Secure Wi-Fi: Shop using a secure and password-protected Wi-Fi network. Avoid making transactions on public Wi-Fi networks.

Check for Secure Payment Options

9. Look for Secure Payment Icons: Trusted online stores will display secure payment icons (e.g., PayPal, Visa Secure) during checkout. Use these options for added security.

Monitoring Your Accounts

10. Regularly Review Statements: Keep an eye on your bank and credit card statements. Report any suspicious transactions immediately.

As the holiday season approaches, online shopping will be at its peak. By following these cybersecurity tips, you can enjoy the convenience of online shopping while safeguarding your financial information and personal data. At First International Bank & Trust, we want to ensure that your online experiences are not only enjoyable but also secure. Happy and secure holiday shopping!