LEXINGTON, N.C. -- The streets of Lexington are decorated for the Christmas season. While some folks will spend their money at local stores, others like Geoff Beane will do some online shopping.
"When we do, we use our credit cards," Beane said. "We don't do debit cards."
Not using your debit card is one way to protect yourself from internet fraud. If an online purchase goes wrong, a credit card offers more consumer protection.
"We feel relatively confident that if something did happen, we could recoup our money off of it." Beane said.
Meanwhile at Davidson County Community College, computer security students are learning how thieves take personal information like names and credit card numbers. Computer security instructor Ann Funk said if students know how people steal information, they can develop ways to stop them.
"You have to know how these people think and the tools they use to gather information." Funk said. "If you don't know those, then you can't fight against them."
The main lesson the students learned, change your passwords frequently and make them hard to guess. Also don't click on unfamiliar links. The link could take you to a site that will steal your information when you type it in. Computer security student Joshua Carter adds we expose ourselves to danger when we don't update our firewalls and computer operating systems.
"What I want to do is make sure people are staying up to date and informed," Carter said.
In 2016, the Federal Bureau of Investigations reported internet crime resulted in Americans losing over $1.3 billion.