Online retail sales this holiday season are predicted to reach up to $59.5 billion this year, which puts consumers at higher risk of identity theft and fraud. If hackers obtain your debit card number, your bank account can be completely emptied out. Therefore, it is important to shop safely and be cautious about which websites you make purchases from during the holiday season. The following are some online shopping safety tips:1. Make sure that your computer has anti-virus or anti-spyware software to ensure that you aren’t acquiring any viruses or malicious programs. 2. Check the websites that you make purchases from, to ensure that the sites are secure. You can check this by looking to see if they provide SSL (Secure Socket Layer) security, which can typically be found somewhere on the home page. 3. Be careful when you post personal information online. Do not share any addresses or payment information on social networking sites, as it is easy to access. 4. Only shop at trusted websites. Before you make a purchase from a website, check for customer testimonials or look to see if they are part of the Better Business Bureau listings. 5. Do not give out your social security number online. No merchants should require you to release your social security number while shopping online. The safest way to shop online is through SafetyPay, a secure e-payment system that allows all online banking customers to make online purchases worldwide directly through their bank. SafetyPay provides a safe international shopping experience without the need to disclose any financial information or the use of credit cards. Shop globally, pay locally with SafetyPay this holiday season.