Tips for shopping safely online

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The numbers from Cyber Monday show huge increases in online shopping this year from last year. That means more people's identities and personal information could be at risk.

Rob Brough with Zions Bank explained some of the key ways to protect yourself while shopping online.

Choose credit over debit

Brough advises online shoppers to use their credit card instead of debit card.

"Federal law actually states that $50 is the maximum exposure that a consumer has when using their credit card online. If it's used fraudulently, $50 is the maximum," he said.

He also pointed out that most credit card companies offer zero liability in reporting fraud.

"With the debit card they're tapping straight into your basket and it can take months to get that money recovered if there's fraud discovered," he added.

Disposable is better

Another option is purchasing a preloaded credit card. Brough suggested loading it with the exact amount you're planning to spend. Using that card while shopping online will limit exposure to your bank account and help ensure you don't over spend during the holidays.

Verify website security

When checking to see if the website you're using is secure, there are a couple of things to remember.

Brough says be careful about clicking on links from an e-mail because if there's an issue with fraud, sometimes that's how the link will arrive.

"Go to a site with a company you trust. Look at the top before entering your credit card, make sure it has ‘https' -- S is for secure -- or look for the lock icon at the bottom that shows you're on a secure website," Brough said.

Don't shop publicly

"Don't access a shopping cite from a cyber cafe or library. Do it at home so you're on a computer you know you can trust. If you're at a cafe or the library you don't know who is on there next or what's being stored on the computer," he cautioned.

Don't store information elsewhere

Some sites offer to store your credit information so the next time you visit it's one-stop shopping.

"That can be convenient but you have to think about what happens if that site gets hacked or compromised? Your information is available. I would advise the extra time to type that information in each time. It might take a couple extra minutes but gives you an added level of protection," Brough said.

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