All through the house, not a creature was stirring except for the mouse. The computer mouse that is! Yes, it is that time of year when people are busy online shopping and writing Christmas letters.

As the number of days dwindle before Christmas, the hustle and bustle and perhaps even panic attacks increase! “I have only 15 days to find the perfect gift for that hard to buy for Aunt Ann.” After spending hours of visiting the local stores (because we all know how important it is to shop local first) and you still did not find the perfect gift. You decide to look online.

Online shopping can be convenient as we can shop at all hours of the day and even in our PJ’s. However, there are some tips I would like to share with you to help minimize identity theft and credit card fraud.

When making purchases, choose to use your credit card instead of a debit card. Credit cards offer protection from identity theft that debit cards don’t. Also dedicate one credit card for online purchases.

Many website offer you the ability to save or store your credit card information on their servers to speed up the shopping experience. Although, it is definitely faster, I don’t recommend this. If you allow your information to be stored there, you are putting your personal information at risk. Take the time to input your personal and credit card information each time you make a purchase.

Make sure you are shopping or purchasing items from a web store that offers secure shopping. Look for the small lock icon in the lower right hand corner of the screen. Another way to determine if the site is secure is by the URL. A secure website starts with the https://.

A good resource for more information regarding online shopping is the National Cyber Security Alliance at StaySafeOnline.org.

Happy shopping and Merry Christmas.

Janell Hauck-Customer Care Manager

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