Don’t Be Scammed! Avoiding phishing scams during online holiday shopping.

Don’t Be Scammed! Avoiding phishing scams during online holiday shopping.
Online scammers are out to steal your personal information during the holiday shopping season.

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - 'Tis the season for holiday shopping, and even though Black Friday and Cyber Monday are already behind us, that does not mean you should let your guard down when it comes to safe online shopping.

We caught up with Max Eddy, an analyst with PCMag.com who says there are several ways you can protect yourself this time of year.

"The best way to avoid phishing {scams} is to not click links in your email," Eddy says. "It's that simple."

Eddy says instead of clicking a link in your email that could potentially be a scam, just go directly to the website by typing in the URL yourself.

"With these sort of emails, the incentive is to click them directly sometimes to get access to a specific deal because searching the site would be impossible or difficult to find the thing you're looking for," Eddy says. "So, one thing we recommend is just don't click on anything that you don't absolutely want or aren't 100% sure about.

Another tip to making sure the website you're on is legit: look for HTTPS in the URL. That's a sign of security. If you don't see listed on your browser, you should be suspicious of the link or website.

There is also software available to help you avoid becoming a victim of having your personal information stolen. Many of the more well-known browsers will alert you when you are trying to access an unsafe website. But Eddy says password managers can also help keep you protected.

"These are pieces of software, or web browser plug ins, that generate, store and replay your log-in credentials for you," Eddy says. "First off, this makes it much faster to shop because it will fill in your personal info, your address and credit card information, if you want it to. But more importantly, it will only fill in the log in information for the website itself."

“For example, if you have saved your password for PayPal.com but you go to a fake Pay Pal website, you’ll notice right away that your password information does not fill in automatically.”

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