I have been talking a lot about identify fraud and such lately. Why? Because the risks always go up during holiday shopping. Online financial predators know that more people are spending money online during the holidays. This means that there is more online activity for them to track and try to hack.

There are a few things that you can do to keep yourself safe while shopping:

Update your Virus Software: This is one of the most important things that you can do to prevent catching a virus while browsing online. There are many great free options out there. My current favorite is still Free AVG.

Use Spyware/Malware Protection: To make sure that no secret little programs end up running on your computer to snap your account information make sure that you have great Malware Protection installed.

Use Strong Passwords: Get rid of those password that are your name, your kids names, easy words, etc. Checkout my previous post about strong passwords for more tips. And download ChicaLogic Password Manager if your password is too hard for you to remember. LOL!

Monitor Your Credit Cards Closely: Check your accounts once of twice a week to make sure that everything that shows up it correct. If you see any unfamiliar transactions, call right away. You can even sign up for a service like FreeCreditReport.com which monitors your credit report closely and alerts you to any changes.

Buy From Trusted Sources: It is sometimes very tempting to buy from unknown websites when the price looks right. But, be weary of sites that have no reviews, prices WAY lower than the norm, or JavaScript errors. Hackers may setup mock sites to lure shoppers to input there credit card info. So, either buy from a store that you already trust. Or, at the very least do a little research on a site via Googling, or check for seller reviews on sites like PriceGrabber.com and Google Shopping.