As the holidays get closer, many of us will turn to online shopping. Done right, online shopping is about as safe as catalog shopping – and much more convenient. If you don’t take basic precautions, though, you could lose your shirt. Take the time to learn about the kinds of scams and cons that are used online.

The Federal Trade Commission hosts a terrific site with lots of content on identifying and deflecting these kinds of scams. If you haven’t already been out to visit, I strongly recommend the site. It has some excellent overview material on security at the personal and small business level. The site also has a set of games covering a variety of topics like spyware, online auctioneering, peer-to-peer, phishing and spam. Test your knowledge of internet security and safe shopping. It’s well worth the time to visit the site.

The site’s material comes from a number of public and private sources but is all released for public use. If you run your own personal website, you can post their games, videos and handouts to your own site and help spread the word. (Instructions are here.)

This tip has inspired me to create a more permanent set of links to some of the better games and awareness quizzes that I’ve run across. I’ll try to get them posted in a permanent sidebar on the blog but in the meantime, here are a few good links.

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