How to Stay Safe When Shopping Online this Holiday Season

How to Stay Safe When Shopping OnlineLearn financial safety tips and keep your identity and personal information secure online

If you’ve been in the midst of shopping for holiday presents, you have most likely come across the “perfect” gift for a friend or loved one…except you can only purchase it online. While millions of safe purchases happen daily across the Internet, it is still wise to take precautions and be aware of some tips before typing in your credit card number and other personal information. A wide range of online shopping security issues exist, and recent hackings from Equifax, etc. highlight how quickly information can be taken without our knowledge.

So what should you do when the only thing standing between you and the item you want is just a few strokes on a keyboard? Start by following these 4 tips that can teach you how to stay safe when shopping online:

1. Pay attention to your instincts:

Have you ever landed upon a website that looks like it was designed when the Internet was first introduced decades ago? Or perhaps there is an incredible item available for a price that seems too-good-to-be-true. Well, the likelihood of that website being a scam site and/or not really selling that item at that low cost is quite high.
Any time you have a hunch that something isn’t right with a website, whether it is the price, design, or personal information they are asking for as you place your order, quit your transaction and leave the website immediately. You can also input a website URL at to determine if the site is safe, or to establish if the URL is linked to a scam site.

2. Only shop on protected Wi-Fi:

One ongoing financial safety issue occurs when people begin shopping over unprotected public Wi-Fi or hotspots. Doing so basically gives hackers and criminals free reign to steal your identity and/or personal information as these public hotspots or Wi-Fi’s do not encrypt data. Even though you may not want to wait until you are home or somewhere that has a password protected Wi-Fi, doing so can save you from identity theft and financial loss.

3. Consider a virtual credit card:

When you see that “must-have” item but are concerned about purchasing on an unfamiliar website, or prefer not to share your credit card information at all online, consider a virtual credit card. Available through some financial institutions and credit card companies, a virtual credit card is a temporary card that provides you with a credit card number that will work only for a short period of time and for a specific amount of money. This handy card can help you minimize the damage if for any reason the card number is stolen while shopping online.

4. Don’t fall prey to fake emails:

Another often seen online shopping security issue has to do with fake shipping notices sent via email. These notices look almost identical to shipping notices from the USPS, FedEx and UPS. Plus, these emails often contain links to let you find out where your package is and once you click, you have fallen victim to a scam that can install malware on your computer and steal your information. Instead, go directly to the website you purchased your product on, login to your account and determine if the item has been shipped.

These are just a few ways to increase your financial safety when shopping online. Other tips include changing passwords regularly, not using the same password for every online store you shop at, and limiting spending to one credit card (which will be easier to manage if your information is hacked).

You can learn additional ways on how to stay safe when shopping online and other financial tips at  Summit Brokerage Services has been voted the #1 boutique independent broker dealer in the country. Let us show you why! To experience the Summit difference, learn more about our network of independent financial advisors, and begin creating your financial planning documents, visit or call us at (800) 354-5528.


About Summit Brokerage Services, Inc.

Summit Brokerage Services is part of Cetera Financial Group. Summit Brokerage provides a broad range of securities brokerage and investment services to primarily individual investors. Summit Brokerage also sells insurance products, predominantly fixed and variable annuities and life insurance through its subsidiary, SBS Insurance Agency of Florida. Summit Brokerage also provides asset management services through its investment advisor, Summit Financial Group, Inc.


About Cetera Financial Group

Cetera Financial Group® (“Cetera”) is a leading network of independent retail broker-dealers empowering the delivery of objective financial planning advice to individuals, families and company retirement plans across the country through trusted financial advisors and financial institutions.  Cetera is the second-largest independent financial advisor network in the nation by number of advisors, as well as a leading provider of retail services to the investment programs of banks and credit unions.

Through its multiple distinct firms, Cetera offers independent and institutions-based advisors the benefits of a large, established broker-dealer and registered investment adviser, while serving advisors and institutions in a way that is customized to their needs and aspirations.  Independent financial advisor support resources offered through Cetera include award-winning wealth management and financial planning and advisory platforms, comprehensive broker-dealer and registered investment adviser services, practice management support and innovative technology.  For more information, visit

*”Cetera Financial Group” refers to the network of retail independent broker-dealers encompassing, among others, Cetera Advisors, Cetera Advisor Networks, Cetera Financial Institutions, Cetera Financial Specialists, First Allied Securities, Girard Securities, and Summit Brokerage Services.


All information herein has been prepared solely for informational purposes, and it is not an offer to buy or sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy or sell any security or instrument or to participate in any particular trading strategy.


Content created by Summit Brokerage Services, Inc.

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