Though today is Cyber Monday, holiday online shopping has been going on since late October. Really, online shopping has seen a major boost since the pandemic took hold of the country. That said, hands down, today is the biggest online shopping day of the year.

The BBB of South Central Louisiana has some great tips to help protect your identity and money. The #1 rule is to shop on well known sites, with well known companies.

Do a computer update before you shop. You want to have the latest firewall protection and software updates before exposing your computer to possible viruses or phishing scams.

Be leery about "lookalike" sites. Make sure you're on the official website of your favorite department store before you start adding things to your virtual cart.

Make sure you are shopping on a secure site. Look for "https" in the upper left-hand corner (avoid "http" sites). It is in front of the web address. The "s" stands for secure.

Look for a return policy. Not all websites have a return policy. Furthermore, some sites make returning items extremely difficult (you must make a request for label, no full refunds.) Make sure you understand the policy before you buy.

Know where the package is coming from and how long it'll take to arrive, if you need it by Christmas. Don't assume you are shopping with a U.S. vendor. A lot of sites are out of the country and shipping takes several days or weeks to arrive after going through customs.

Price check before you buy. You may find local retailers will do a price match and offer delivery. Always check other sites for the same items to see if they're being offered at a bigger discount.

For more great tips and tricks, peep the details here.

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