The Office of Homeland Security is offering some valuable tips for online shopping, on Cyber Monday or anytime you're buying online.

This is the biggest online shopping day of the holiday season, like Black Friday from your couch. Retail sites are offering huge deals on customer favorites, in hopes of boosting holiday sales. But for cyber criminals, today is more like a visit to the candy store. They're ready to steal your financial information, any way they can.

So, the Homeland Security Office has some suggestions for keeping your purchases, and your identity safe.

Check your devices: First and foremost, make sure your computer, phone, or tablet is as up-to-date as possible. And you should consider whether you need to update your passwords, making them as strong as possible.

Shop at Trusted Sites: This is not the time to check out new sites for your online purchases. Instead, go to reputable sites that you're familiar with. If you're considering buying from a new site, do you due diligence and research their reputation. One thing to check for is the 'https' in the web address. This indicates that it's a 'safe site.'

Never click links on emails: Cyber criminals are very busy, especially this time of year, sending out fake emails that look like they're actually from your favorite vendors. The emails offer amazing deals, with links to click in order to take advantage of the discounts. Unfortunately, it's 'just another way to steal your financial information. If you see an offer for a great deal, log directly onto the retailer's site and search for the discounted item.

Don't allow retailers to store your financial information: It's so tempting to click that box that offers to store your credit card number, so you don't have to enter it again the next time you shop. But, in reality, it leaves that information vulnerable to hackers. It's worth the extra couple of minutes it will take to enter the numbers each time you shop.

Use a credit, rather than debit card: There are laws in place that will limit your amount of liability, if your credit card is used by someone else. But you may not have the same protection with your debit card.

Find more information about safe cyber shopping tips on the website for the Department of Homeland Security.

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