Identity theft a major problem as online sales increase

Identity theft a major problem as online sales increase

Online holiday shopping sales are expected to rise this year, and consumers must beware of identity theft scams and personal data vulnerabilities.

Huntington Bancshares recently released its Ten Cyber Shopping Tips as consumers prepare for Cyber Monday and the remainder of the holiday shopping season.

According to Huntington, online shoppers should only purchase products from companies they know and trust, and conducting research about a company prior to disclosing financial information is recommended. Legitimate businesses would never ask for personal information via a pop-up message, the report said.

Additionally, shoppers should also update their antivirus software and firewalls before making online purchases, examine a company's privacy policy and beware of fraudulent sites that are disguised to look authentic, Bancshares said.

"Only provide personal information if you're on a secure website," the report said. "Once logged in, ensure the web address starts with "https" - "s" means it's secure. For added safety, check for a site certificate before submitting information."

Forrester Research projects online sales in November and December will total $60 billion, a 15 percent increase from 2010 and about one-third of overall online sales for this year. According to the report, shoppers are increasingly searching for deals and studying products online.