How to shop online more safely this holiday season

People shop online in large numbers to save time and avoid crowded stores (not to mention gas) during the holiday season.

Unfortunately, increased online shopping also provides cyberthieves with new potential victims. Research shows that shoppers are at increased risk of online crime during the holidays, especially if they use a retailer that they're not familiar with because the retailer offers free shipping or discounts.

If you don't know an online retailer by its brand or reputation, these tips can help you determine whether they're operating a secure and trustworthy Web site before you enter your credit card number or personal information.