Carnegie Mellon University

Photograph of packages with shopping carts printed on them.

November 18, 2022

How To Protect Your Money While Shopping Online

This holiday season, Adobe predicts that consumers will have access to some of the most significant online discounts ever. If you plan to take advantage of these deals, follow our tips to protect your personal information and your money.

1. Update your security

  • Update your operating system and apps to ensure you’re taking advantage of the latest security features. Check out our Secure Computing guide for more information. 
  • Create strong passwords, and never use the same one for multiple accounts. If available, use two-factor authentication and a password manager to enhance your protection. 

2. Stay suspicious

  • Buy only from sites you trust. Ensure site URLs begin with https and match the address you’re expecting. And be especially cautious of third parties selling on social media platforms.
  • Never give personal or financial information over the phone or via email to someone who has contacted you.
  • Think before you click! Links within emails and pop-ups could be phishing attempts or malware in disguise. Remember you can hover over a link to see the full URL. And if you’re still unsure, go to the main website and navigate to the linked location manually.

3. Take control of your accounts

  • Use a credit card whenever possible. Credit cards allow you to accrue charges and authorize payment later while debit cards pull money directly from your account. If your credit card is compromised, you can report fraudulent charges and your money remains untouched.
  • Sign up for alerts for all of your payment cards so that you receive a notification when they’re used to make a purchase.
  • Monitor all of your accounts regularly so you can catch fraudulent charges.

Eager to keep learning? Visit the Federal Trade Commission for even more tips to help you have a safe shopping experience.