10. Use valid payment services like PayPal or Venmo when shopping online.

When shopping at multiple places online, the chances of having sensitive information dealt with irresponsibly and landing in the hands of criminals rises. Before entering payment information, be sure to use a secure payment service and check that the site is a legitimate retailer.
(Photo: Bloomberg)

9. Avoid clicking ads to access websites.

Criminals can build a doppelganger website to steal information. Carefully examine the URLs of ads to make sure they navigate to legitimate sites and not one created by a criminal.
(Photo: Shutterstock)

8. Check if URLs start with 'https" rather than "http" to ensure security.

When a website address uses “https://” instead of “http://,” it indicates that it is using a security certificate to protect information.
(Photo: Shutterstock)

7. Avoid using public Wi-Fi.

Nearly every restaurant, café or retailer has open Wi-Fi access points, and many require registration or a login step to use the network.
Cybercriminals can spoof open access points and create fraudulent registration pages with password fields. This allows criminals to obtain regularly used email and password combinations and then use them on other sites, such as a bank, which can lead to identity theft.
(Photo: Shutterstock)

6. Inspect physical credit card readers for tampering.

When purchasing with a credit card, check if the card reader has been tampered. Although there are undetectable ways a bad actor can steal credit card information, physical damage to a reader is an easy sign to spot.
(Photo: Shutterstock)


5. Consider purchasing an RFID blocking wallet or sleeve.

Credit cards today have RFID chips. While this makes it easy to make purchases, it also grants thieves away to illegal obtain card information by using an RFID reader. Protect cards with RFID chips by storing them in an RFID blocking wallet or sleeve.
(Photo: Shutterstock)

4. Keep phones locked and configure location services.

Malls and stores are packed with heavy shopper traffic during the holidays, which makes provides the perfect environment for a thief looking to steal a mobile device.
Do not leave personal belongings unsupervised and always keep a phone locked because an unlocked phone gives thieves access to a lot of personal information.
Also, consider configuring location services on mobile devices, which will make it possible to locate if stolen.
(Photo: iStock)

3. Do not use airport Wi-Fi.

Remember that when a device is connected to a system or network, it creates an avenue to access information on the device.
(Photo: Shutterstock)

2. Avoid using airport USB charging stations.

Try bringing a personal charging block when traveling to avoid using a public charging station. USB charging stations at airports have been known to allow network access to connected devices.
(Photo: Shutterstock)

1. Do not connect any device to a rental car.

Never connect a phone with Bluetooth or USB to a rental car, as it can store personal information, such as texts, phone numbers, and even GPS information, which can then be accessible to the next person who rents the car.
(Photo: Shutterstock)



The advent of the digital age transformed the way we shop — especially for the holidays. Fifty-seven percent of consumers say they plan to buy online this holiday season, USA Today reports. Also, the National Retail Federation estimates online and other non-store sales during the holiday season will increase from $146.5 billion last year to between $162.6 billion and $166.9 billion this year.

With more people shopping online, it becomes a breeding ground for cybercriminals looking for easy targets.

“There are many things that we take for granted with our digital life that exposes us to theft,” says Matt Scott, practice leader, digital forensics at Envista Forensics, in a blog post. “Just like you wouldn’t leave your wallet or credit cards lying around, your digital information must be protected in the same way, whether you are in an airport or rental car.”

Envista Forensics provides ten ways to keep personal information safe this holiday shopping season, explained in the slideshow above. 

In addition to the steps outlined in the slideshow, purchasing a personal cyber insurance policy is also a prudent step to take during the holidays — and all year long. Although policies differ from carrier to carrier, most personal cyber insurance policies offer coverage for cyberattacks, cyber extortion, or fraud from a cyber-related event, and it will provide financial reimbursement for losses associated with the theft of digital information.