Safe Holiday Browsing – Part 2 – How to keep from Getting Scrooged this Christmas Season

Blog / Safe Holiday Browsing – Part 2 – How to keep from Getting Scrooged this Christmas Season

As promised, here is Part 2 of our tips for safe browsing and online shopping this holiday season. If you missed the 1st part, it’s available on our website at

Safe Holiday Browsing – How to keep from Getting Scrooged this Christmas Season

So, to continue on:

  1. Don’t Accept Cookies from Strangers. Actually, strange websites. Many sites use Cookies, which are small files they store on your computer that are used to track your settings while visiting the website. These cookies can contain personal information and tracking mechanisms. Most websites now ask permission to store Cookies – in fact, some say their site won’t work properly unless they are allowed to store Cookies. Sometimes, that’s not the complete truth. Regardless, do not accept Cookies from websites unless you absolutely have to – and if then, be sure to clear the browser cache to delete the Cookies once you are finished.
  2. Don’t use Social Media Accounts for website logins. Many websites offer the ability to use one of many social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – and others) for your login account. This is a No-No for 2 primary reasons. First, it allows the website provider to track your movement and convey that information to the social media provider. I am already very suspicious of all of the Big Data that is being collected as a result of tracking website and social media activities and I don’t need to encourage it. The second reason is hacked user credentials; if your Facebook account credentials are compromised, then the hacker has access to every website that uses the Facebook login.
  3. Enter the Least Amount of Information About Yourself. Most websites are very adept at gather all sorts of information about users; name, address, phone and contact information, age, sex, even credit card information. This is especially true if you are making an online purchase. Only put in what you actually need to – and never let the website store credit card information for you. Some savvy users put in bogus personal information, but that can backfire as many credit card validation schemes require legitimate name and address information to authorize the transaction. Bogus information could get you card frozen until you contact the bank, or could get your package delivered to a foreign country (if you’ve been creative with the postal code).
  4. Look for the HTTPS in the URL (Address bar) BEFORE entering Payment Information. In the address bar of the browser, you can look at the very beginning of the text string that tells you the Internet location (URL) of the website. Most often, it starts with HTTP, but websites that accept payment information should use HTTPS, the “S” standing for secure (or encrypted). HTTPS means the data channel between you and the website is encrypted to prevent your information from being sent over the Internet in plain text. Information sent in plain text can be easily sniffed during transmission.
  5. Use a Separate Credit Card or Bank Account with Low Limits or Balances. When making Internet purchases, it’s best to have a separate payment card that is used ONLY for online purchases – and that the credit limit (if a credit card), or the account balance (if a debit card) be kept very low. It’s an easy task to transfer funds between multiple accounts, so you can always keep refreshing the account balances on your Internet ONLY cards.

So last week, I told you about my LEAST favourite Christmas song – the Cat Carol. This time, it’s my favourite; Silent Night by Jim Reeves.

Of course, it’s the perennial-favourite carol written almost 200 years ago, and performed by a country and western singer from the early 60s. A quirky combination, but his straight-forward approach to the song seems to bring out the best qualities of the lyrics and his voice.

What’s not to like?


Dave White


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