Holiday Online Safety


As part of our mission to help Americans understand risks in cyberspace and the steps they can take to defend themselves, CISA has launched a public awareness initiative to inform consumers of common risks around the holiday shopping season and encourage basic cybersecurity practices. During the holiday season, millions of Americans engage in online shopping in search of the best gifts and Cyber Monday deals. As people stay inside to protect themselves from the COVID-19 pandemic, even more Americans will be shopping online. Unfortunately, this is also the season for cyberattacks. According to the Federal Trade Commission, the number of fraud reports for online shopping increased in the fourth quarter of last year, which coincides with the holiday season. Hackers, scammers, and online thieves will be looking to take advantage of unsuspecting shoppers by searching for weaknesses in our devices or internet connections or attempting to extract personal and financial information through fake websites or charities.


Over the course of the next month, we plan to share safety information for consumers to keep in mind as they navigate the world-wide web. CISA’s “Holiday Online Shopping” launch includes a website complete with easy-to-follow safety tips for online shopping, and additional resources to promote healthy shopping practices.


We need your help in getting the word out to your members or stakeholders. Please consider sharing the following tips in your newsletters, on your website, or on social media:


  • Check your devices – Before starting your hunt for the best deal, make sure your devices are up-to-date and all of your accounts have strong passwords. If you purchase an internet connected device or toy, change the default password and check the devices’ privacy and security settings to make sure you’re not sharing more information than you want.
  • Shop through trusted retailers – Before making a purchase and providing any personal or financial information, make sure you’re using a reputable, established vendor. Similarly, if you’re planning to make a charitable donation, be sure to research who or where your donation is going, to ensure it’s a legitimate organization.
  • Using safe methods for purchases – If you can, use a credit card or other forms of digital payments opposed to a debit card as credit cards often have better fraud protections.


Please click here to view the holiday online shopping tips flyer.


Thank you and happy holidays,