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typing on laptopThe sales are on! As you head out to shop for your holiday gifts, there is a good chance that you might not be heading out of the house at all. You might be going on the web.

The Wall Street Journal reported that in 2016, over half of shoppers bought items online rather than in a store. Buying gifts for your family, or even taking advantage of sales to stock up on business supplies will likely involve some degree of online shopping.

But online shopping comes with risks. Today’s internet is very secure. However, cyber thieves are always looking for ways to steal your personal data. The holidays will see a jump in online purchasing. This makes the season a prime opportunity for cyber thieves to steal your financial data.

However, you can take steps to protect your data from theft. Here are seven tips that you can follow to increase your online security.

1. Don’t Browse in Public

Using a public computer or network means that you never know who might use it after you. If you make a purchase and don’t close the buying portal correctly, your data may still be available when the next user comes online. You should never buy items on public computers or networks.

2. Don’t Save Your Passwords

No matter how secure your computer might be, it is always at risk of viruses, malware and hacks. You might have passwords saved or use other autofill programs. Thieves can lift this information from your computer. Take steps not to save your passwords on purpose.

3. Use Secure Payment Sites

Many online sellers use secured sites and programs to protect your data. They often display these security credentials on the purchasing page. You should look for these credentials when buying. If you are buying from a site that may not be secure, consider using a gift card or perhaps send cash to a seller directly.

4. Use Pre-paid Cards

Pre-paid credit cards are a great way to protect your bank accounts and security. You can supply these cards with money, and then pay using the cards. That way, the card number is only linked to the funds that are on the pre-paid card.

5. Turn off Auto-save Programs

Many people think autofill and your browsing history are great ways to save information. But, remember you're saving this information online. Cyber thieves could access this information on your browser. You should disable auto-save and clear your browsing histories frequently.

6. Invest in Computer Security

Programs like secure keyboards, browsers and firewalls that can increase your protection. Most major computer systems provide security or have recommended firewall or anti-virus programs. Check your security before shopping.

7. Watch Your Money

Keep an eye on your bank statements during the holidays. In case cyber theft occurs, you want to rectify the damage and reclaim any lost money as soon as possible. Keep online receipts, and know where you make purchases. Immediately report any unfamiliar charges.

Cyber security insurance is a possibility if you need further protection for your data. However, there are steps that you can take during this busy season to reduce your financial risks. Do you have other online security tips? Leave a comment here today, and learn more about cyber insurance on our site.

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