UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – The holiday shopping season is here and Director for the Northeast Cyber Forensics Center at Utica College Anthony Martino explains how you can keep your information safe as you shop the Cyber Monday sales.

“The best way to protect yourself when shopping online is first of all to use reputable websites to make sure that you are shopping with big names, names you know names you recognize,” said Martino.

What are signs that you are on a reputable website? Martino says that the website address should start with HTTPS.

“The S is for secure and the little padlock icon in the browser will show a lock that means that any of the data that you are entering your name your address will be encrypted while its send between you and the merchant. doesn’t protect that data once the merchant receives it but it protects it against spies and eavesdropping along the way,” said Martino.

Martino tells us when online shopping only provide information that is necessary to the transaction, and the safest way to pay when shopping online is with a credit card, never pay with your bank account or wire money.

“Your credit card provides by law protections against fraud that you will not be responsible for and those same protections do not necessarily extend to your bank account,” said Martino.

If you do become a victim of a cyber scam, it is not worth the time to try to chase down the cyber thieves.

“The thing they need to do first is notify the credit card company or the bank immediately the second thing is change all of their passwords across all of their systems,” said Martino.