Imagine one day you are sitting at home and you receive a text saying your package from Best Buy has been shipped. Here is the problem, you didn’t order anything from Best Buy but the person who did order it is called Mr. Identity theft. You later find out these are not the only things Mr. Theft has purchased and you have now become one of the 13.1 million people affected by identity theft in 2015.

Shopping online has become very popular. Last year, the National Retail Federation’s Thanksgiving weekend Survey showed that more people shop online than actually going to a store on black Friday. Since online shopping has become more popular this has given identity thieves a way to commit their crimes. So here are some tips to use when you decide you want to online shop and avoid getting your identity stolen.


Avoid making purchases using a public Wi-Fi connection and computer.

Using open connections can give hackers direct access to your personal information. Also avoid using public computers in places like libraries or hotels, they often keep your personal information stored on the computer and give other people access to see.

Only shop on secure sites.

Any page that lets you enter credit card information should start with https:// and include a locked padlock icon.

Activate your device’s built-in firewalls.

Also consider buying a separate security software and updating it frequently.

Choose strong passwords.

If a site requires you to log in, choose a password that doesn’t in any way relate to your personal information. And be sure the password includes a mix of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers and characters. Make it strong enough that even your dog won’t be able to figure it out.

Check your card’s purchase activity frequently.

During the holiday shopping crazy time, it’s worth checking your credit card transaction activity every week or so. Doing this will help you spot and dispute any fraudulent activities.


Even the most careful cyber shoppers fall prey to identity theft. That’s why it’s worth adding ERIE’s Identity Recovery Coverage to your homeowners insurance policy. It will help with you with undoing identity theft damages and reimburse you for covered expenses such as administrative expenses, lost wages and sometimes legal fees.  Make sure to ask your Insurance agent about adding this to your homeowners policy.