VANCOUVER -- Holiday shopping no longer necessarily means battling the crowds at the mall.

Many people are taking to doing all their Christmas shopping from the cozy setting of their couch. This may provide an easier alternative, however, it does open individuals up to some vulnerablities online.

Jake Buschbach is the CEO and Founder of Umbrella IT. He shared that credit card theft is up 24 per cent since last year, and scammers were paid 95 per cent more.

Buschbach is an expert in helping people stay secure, private and anonymous online. Some of his top tips when it comes to protecting your credit card information include using PayPal, shopping only on familiar websites and using a password manager with strong passwords and two-factor authentication applications.

You should avoid saving your credit card information while shopping online and remember there is no need to overshare with details like your social insurance number.

Fake websites and scams can easily lure people and compromise their information online.

One way to avoid getting duped this holiday season is by going directly to the website you want, versus clicking links.

Telltale signs of what could be a fake website include invasive advertisements and broken English on the site. You're encouraged to check for the lock in the web browser so you know the site is secure, double check the domain name and read online reviews.

Another issue when it comes to identity theft is SIM swapping.

Fraudsters can steal your financial detalis by blocking your SIM card and exchanging it with a fake one. To protect yourself you should never post your phone number online.

You should create fake answers to security questions and take the time to setup PINs and passcodes.

Umbrella IT Services' mission is to help people stay safe online. They offer free assessments that help get to know individuals business on both a personal and operational level. They can develop tailored IT solutions that resove existing problems and plan for future challenges.