Online shopping is now an everyday task for many of us as the most popular and convenient way to pick up everything from everyday essentials and services to special gifts.

However, many consumers are now becoming a little bit too complacent when it comes to our online security.

Online shopping opens up a door to identity theft and it is our responsibility to take the appropriate steps to protect our own identities from credit card theft and online identity theft.

This may seem like a very daunting task, but there are plenty of simple tips we can follow to help us to safeguard our personal information, not only when shopping online, but any time we use the internet.

The first step is to restrict your online shopping to only those sites which you know and trust whenever possible. Look for the little padlock icon on your browser to signify that the site is secure before making a payment.

If you make a large number of online transactions, it is well worth using a payment service such as PayPal or requesting a temporary credit card number to use online. Some shoppers also get a prepaid credit or debit card which they use online.

There are also a number of security measures that you can take to further protect yourself online:

  • Avoid sharing personal information such as your social security number, bank details, credit card number and other sensitive information online.
  • Install a reputable antivirus and anti-spyware software package on your computer to help prevent information being obtained by malicious software.
  • When choosing passwords for online shopping sites, online banking and services such as PayPal, make sure you opt for strong passwords containing numbers, symbols and letters of both cases.

Even if you take all or most of these precautions there is still a possibility of falling victim to identity theft or fraud. It is important to check your credit card statement every month and to examine your PayPal transaction history on a regular basis.

If you do happen to spot something suspicious, flag it up immediately by bringing it to the attention of your credit card issuer. The majority of credit card issuers have zero liability fraud protection if issues are reported immediately.

While it may still be inconvenient, at least you have the peace of mind that you will not be held financially responsible for fraudulent transactions.