ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The holiday season is right around the corner which means online shopping will be in full swing in no time. CPA Garrett Wagner provides tips on how you can stay safe:

How can people stay safe and avoid being a victim of hacking?

We want to be able to shop online, it’s part of what we do today and we got to remember some general best practices. The thing about most hackers, they’re not sophisticated, they want you to make a mistake, and one of the most common mistakes they try and do is through what’s called phishing. This is where an email or a text message via social media message is sent to you and it’s going to look kind of real, but it’s not. A great example of this would be you get an email from your bank, asking you to sign into your account, or message from your friend asking you to send him some money. And that email might look real, and that email address might say your bank’s name, but if you look closer, that email address would be a bunch of random characters “@gmail.com.” They’re trying to make it look real and trying to trick you.

What else can people do to stay vigilant?

With that, don’t click on any emails or text message with links and message from people you don’t know. Once again, they’re just hoping to kind of trick you into it. They’re hoping that us being busy, we’re not going to look too closely, we’re just going to kind of click on that link. And once again, those links will take us to like fake websites that are made to look real, but they’re not. Real hackers just want to capture more information, steal your identity, and just ruin your holidays.

For those who might be looking to buy or sell online in Rochester, do you have any tips to avoid getting hacked?

You can do it safely. You can survive the holiday season with this because not everyone is looking to commit fraud. So some general tips: If you’re looking to sell something, always check out the profile. If that profile was just created, like minutes ago with one picture, it’s probably fake and they’re just trying to scam you. If you’re the buyer, never send cash ahead of time. Once again, don’t let them be like, ‘Hey, I’m gonna send you an email, click on that email link to send me cash to one of the pay apps.’ That’s another side of scam. Another common thing to watch out for, bad grammar or English that doesn’t seem right. And really the best advice is just trust your gut. If something feels a little bit off. It probably is. If you got questions, always feel free to reach out to your favorite CPA. We’re happy to help keep you safe.