The Tech Bet

Shopping online? Here's how to keep your data safe

Shopping online? Here's how to protect yourself

The holiday shopping season is underway and there are deals galore on the Web. But those deals could give hackers more entry points to access online shoppers' personal information.

Online shoppers can take a few simple steps to make sure they don't end up as identity-theft victims this holiday season.

Michael Bruemmer, Experian's vice president of consumer protection, said shoppers should use prepaid credit or debit cards to limit their exposure while shopping online.

"The easiest thing you can do is have a throw-away credit card or debit card that you only use for shopping as well as potentially an email address," Bruemmer told CNBC's "Tech Bet."

Un-hack me: Tips for staying cyber-safe at Thanksgiving

Experian also advises shoppers to avoid public Wi-Fi hot spots because many aren't secure, recommending that shoppers make all online purchases from home.

Other sure-fire ways to keep your data safe include:

  • Keep your desktop and mobile software up to date. Software updates often improve the security of the personal information stored on your device, according to Experian.
  • Limit some activities on open public Wi-Fi connections, including avoiding checking email and online bank accounts.
  • Don't make purchases based on price alone. Make sure the seller is a trusted vendor. "If an offer seems too good to be true, it likely is," Experian said in an email.
  • On Web pages where you enter your credit card or other personal information, look for "https," with an "s." That indicates your information will be encrypted, which scrambles data on its way to the retailer, according to Experian.

A couple of other tips:

  • Be wary of links included in emails. Instead of clicking on those links, type website URLs into the address bar of your browser, advises security software maker Kaspersky.
  • Turn on two-step authentication — also known as two-step verification or multifactor authentication — on accounts when it's an option. It adds a layer of protection beyond logon and password, according to the National Cybersecurity Alliance.