The last thing you want to worry about when you’re shopping for holiday gifts is getting ripped off—but with your credit card getting a workout over the next few weeks, now’s a good time to be extra cautious. Here are a few holiday shopping scam tips that all parents should know about.

According to a new report from cybersecurity company RiskIQ, hundreds of shopping sites and apps will be phishing for personal data and credit card information they can steal over the holiday shopping season. Holiday shoppers are especially vulnerable when shopping on a mobile device because it’s hard to see the entire URL, which could tip you off to a fake scam website. Here are five more scams to be on the lookout for this holiday season.

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1. Look for secure sites.

Steve Ginty, senior product manager at RiskIQ, advises shoppers to check that the website has a valid “HTTPS” connection with a lock symbol and not just “HTTP,” which is more vulnerable to attacks.

2. Be wary of deal apps.

Scoring a discount is always exciting, but not if it comes at the cost of your identity. Fake holiday deal apps can scam you into entering credit card information and personal data—which is then stolen or even be used to lock you out of your own phone and demand a ransom. Check to see who the app developer is before downloading anything new.

3. Read through your emails carefully.

Scam emails can mimic real emails you get from major retailers. Avoid clicking links in emails that seem like they might be fake and never provide any personal information through email. Look closely at the email address of the sender and compare it to other emails you’ve received previously from real retailers. When in doubt, contact the retailer to see if they sent the email.

4. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

“Don’t try to look for offers that are too good to be true. At the end of the day, that’s what they are,” says Yair Levy, a cybersecurity and information systems expert at Nova Southeastern University. He advises people to only shop with retailers they know and trust.

5. Stick to one credit card for holiday shopping.

Levy also advises dedicating a single credit card to online shopping. That way, it’s easy to track all your purchases in one place and quickly notice any sales you didn’t authorize.

—Shahrzad Warkentin



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