Conduct research: When using a new website for purchases, read reviews and see if other consumers have had a positive or negative experience with the site.

When in doubt, throw it out: Links in emails, posts and texts are often how cybercriminals try to steal your information or infect your devices.

Personal information is like money: value it and protect it: When making a purchase online, be alert to the kinds of information being collected to complete the transaction. Make sure you think it is necessary for the vendor to request that information. Remember, you only need to fill out required fields at checkout.

Use safe payment options: Credit cards are generally the safest option because they allow buyers to seek a credit from the issuer if the product isn’t delivered or isn’t what was ordered.

Don’t be disappointed: Read return policies and other website information so you know what to expect if the purchase doesn’t go as planned.

Protect your $$: When shopping, check to be sure the site is security enabled. Look for web addresses with https:// indicating extra measures to help secure your information.

Lock down your login: Fortify your online accounts by enabling the strongest authentication tools available, such as biometrics, security keys or a unique one-time code through an app on your mobile device. Your usernames and passwords are not enough to protect key accounts like email, banking and social media.