TL;DR: If you plan on doing your holiday shopping online, take steps to safeguard your personal information.

If you're anything like us, you plan to indulge in the luxury of doing all your holiday shopping from the comfort of your own home. There's something truly and spectacularly satisfying about completing this task while wearing sweatpants, sipping a hot chocolate, and imagining the massive lines in each store you're avoiding. However much you might enjoy this endeavor, we suggest proceeding with caution. Tis the season for acts of kindness and goodwill, but (unfortunately), tis also the season for a spike in identity theft. To safeguard your personal information, and ensure your holiday remains undeterred from cyberattacks, consider the following:

Be wary of promotional emails, even from stores you've shopped at before. Many identity thieves send out phishing emails in hopes of infecting your computer with malware, or scoring your passwords, credit card details, and other sensitive data. Consider going directly to the website, rather than clicking on links within an email, even if they appear to have been sent by the company.

Resist the urge to download any new apps promising a shopping discount. Try to stick with apps you've used before, as this time of year is rife with copycat apps. These can appear to be legitimate, but are designed for the nefarious sole purpose of stealing your information. 

Don't use your debit card for online transactions. It should be a no-brainer, but it's a surprisingly common occurrence. Your debit card is tied directly to your bank account, which means one less wall of security between you and potential theft. If you can, try to use only one credit card to do your online shopping. This will make your life exponentially easier in the event that your information is compromised, as you'll only need to cancel one card. 

Use a password manager. Seriously. If you're anything like us, you have trouble remembering your login credentials for the myriad of websites you frequent. Don't result to using one or two passwords for each website. Instead, consider using a password manager like 1Password or LastPass. They're designed to help generate unique passwords, and securely store them on your devices. 

For more tips on how to stay safe this holiday season, check out this guide from NPR, or this one from Mashable. Happy Holiday shopping!

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