Protect your computer
Install a firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware software before you start shopping online Monday. Check for and install the latest updates and run virus scans regularly.
Look for the 'https://'
If the site is secure, its URL should begin with "https://." Also, only shop on trustworthy sites. You can look for the Better Business Bureau "BBB" seal on websites.
Beware of super deals
Websites and unsolicited emails may offer free or very low prices on hard-to-find items. There may be hidden costs. Look for and read the fine print before clicking the purchase button.
Choose credit when paying
In order to best protect yourself when shopping online, always pay with credit card. Under federal law, you can dispute the charges if you don't receive an item, according to the BBB.
Save your order info
Save a copy of your confirmation email so you can track your order. Also keep and understand the company's return policy in case it wasn't the gift you dreamed of giving.
Know where your order is
To make sure your gift beats Santa's sleigh, get a tracking number to follow the shipment of your order. This is also helpful when an order gets lost on the journey to under your tree.
Understand your rights
Federal law requires orders made by phone, mail or online be shipped by the date promised or within 30 days if no delivery time was stated, according to the BBB.