Online shoppers can follow tips to protect their personal information

    Online shoppers can follow tips to protect their personal information

    YAKIMA, Wa. -- Christmas is getting close and many people are getting their last-minute gifts online, but how safe is cyber shopping?

    Shopper Jacqueline Alkins says she prefers to stay away from the internet when buying gifts and instead likes to go to the stores in person.

    “I would rather go into the store to buy stuff. If I spend a lot of money on it I rather have it up front and I feel like its a lot safer that way," said Alkins.

    Shopper Mike Lindell on the other hand, says he has been shopping online for 10 years now and has never come across any issues.

    “If I go to sites that you know I'm not that familiar with, there's security I'll use pay pal so that I can actually be protected. They have my information they're kind of the doorway that keeps people from getting in," said Lindell.

    But not everybody is as lucky as Lindell.

    Best Buy's Geek Squad Manager Lynda Champ says more people are shopping online during this time of year so there is a bigger chance cyber thieves are looking to steal your money or identity.

    Champ says some ways you can prevent being a victim while shopping online is to only use websites you are familiar with, try to make your password difficult for cyber thieves and make sure you have an anti-virus on your computer.

    “If you're shopping on a website that you don't usually shop on don't save your credit card information, and if you're shopping in like you're at Starbucks and on a public network that's probably not a good idea because your device may be visible to others which would give them access to your information," said Champ.

    She says it is important for you to do your research before purchasing any items and to be careful with extreme discounts.

    “Do your homework, you can do so much by looking at the better business bureau and looking those businesses up online. If its too good to be true, its probably too good to be true," said Champ.

    The most important advice Champ can give is to just be cautious because anyone can fall victim to being cheated online.

    “Anytime you put your credit card number somewhere on a website there is that chance, you read it in the paper every day and nobody is completely 100 percent secure from something like that happening," said Champ.

    If you feel like you may have fallen victim to cyber thieves you are advised to contact the police department as soon as possible.

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