EDISON - As more people take to doing their holiday shopping online instead of at brick-and-mortar stores, consumer advocates want shoppers to use caution to avoid getting scammed.

Melissa Companick of the Better Business Bureau says that consumers should research online merchants at the bureau’s website before making their purchase.

“You want to make sure you're using a legitimate website that has contact information so that if there's a problem, you have multiple ways to get in touch with them,” Companick says.

Companick also suggests that by cross-referencing the online shop at the Better Business Bureau site first, consumers can see what other users are saying and if they reported any issues with the site.

Advocates also suggest consumers make sure the website they shop on is secure so their information like address and credit card information isn’t stolen. Website addresses will start with “https” if they are secured, instead of “http.”

Consumers should also be aware of counterfeit items. Advocates say to be skeptical of the item is found on a website that is unknown and claims to have a lot of a hard-to-get items.