Online holiday shopping safety tips from a cybersecurity expert

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- The countdown to Christmas is on and there are still plenty of websites promising shoppers the best deals and free and fast shipping, but shopping online still comes with its warnings.

(Image Source: MGN)

Cyber-security experts from the University of Iowa say they've been seeing these data breaches happen more often especially this year with Uber, Yahoo, and Equifax.

One popular site you can use is haveibeenpwned.com to see if your e-mail address has been compromised.

If it says "good news - no pwnage found" you're safe, but if it says "Oh no-pwned," you may want to think about changing your password.

It's always important no matter if you're on your computer or your cell phone to make sure you're connected to a secure internet network.

Otherwise, if it's not asking for a password to sign into the network that means anyone can get ahold of your personal information.

Also, it's important to never use the same password for multiple websites.

"This is the first thing hackers try to do, they try to use the same password to log into other websites with the same credentials and that means like you are putting all your accounts at risk, so make sure that when you go make accounts on these different websites to do shopping, you use a different password," says Zubair Shafiq, an Assistant Professor of Computer Science from the University of Iowa.

Experts say they also see an increase of SPAM and fake e-mails asking you for personal information during the holidays.

It's important to never give out your personal information and that the names of the retail shops you're shopping with online are spelled right so you're not heading to the wrong site.

One of the best ways to make sure your on the correct page and that you're info isn't being jeopardized is to make sure you can clearly see the little green lock in the corner of web page your shopping on which means you're on a secure website and your information is safe.

Experts with the University of Iowa say a lot more people are using their cell phones to shop for those last minute deals, but you should still be careful.

Instead of going to the websites on your phone, shoppers should make sure you're downloading the legitimate app from that business to make sure their purchase is more secure.