One of the features of the modern holiday season is the increase in online shopping. When presented the choice between traffic filled parking lots, packed malls and snail-paced lines or the convenience of shopping online, most people choose the latter. When you can do your holiday shopping without leaving the house, it can be a bit of a no-brainer.

There are risks to online shopping though. Which means your do need to take care. Luckily, there is simple risk management system you can follow for online shopping. When you buy on the web, you need to follow the five Ps.


The first rule of any online risk management process is to use secure passwords. The most common mistake is to use the same password for everything. That may make it easier to remember them, but it’s also a huge security risk. When you set up passwords for sites where you’ll be spending money make sure you use a different, more complex, password. With so much online shopping done through mobile, make sure you password protect your devices with a separate password too.


Take care when choosing which sites and which sellers you buy from. Keep an eye on pricing. If a price on an unfamiliar website seems too good to be true, it probably is.


If you do find something on a site you’ve never used before, you need to make sure that the checkout is secure. This also goes back to standard online risk management. Whenever you’re inputting personal information, but especially if you’re entering financial info, make sure the URL starts ‘https’ rather than ‘http’. That means the site is using a secure server.

Payment Method

In risk management, if you can’t prevent a risk you should try to mitigate potential damage. Some payment methods offer one or both of those options. PayPal offers great protection for online shoppers, as they protect your purchase for 45 days after a sale. Alternatively, if you don’t use PayPal it’s advisable to use a prepay credit card or a low limit card that’s only for online shopping. That way if your details are compromised, the damage will be limited.


The final P is yet another that would make a list of standard online risk management tips. Privacy is important to everyone, but many people give it away all too freely online. Most online forms have minimum requirements for information sharing, it’s important that you don’t share more than you have to. This is especially true in locations that take payment details.

Online shopping can be a real timesaver. It can make holiday shopping easy and even enjoyable. Just make sure you use the right risk management measures, so you can enjoy the rest of the holidays too.

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