NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As the holiday shopping season kicks off, a warning you’ve heard over and over again is resurfacing: Protect your personal information.

So what do shoppers really need to know?

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“What they really need to be doing is understand the fact that their personal information is critical to them,” Robert Stroud, the international president of the IT governance firm ISACA, told CBS2’s Diane Macedo in an in-studio interview. “So in the past, we’ve been shopping and leveraging our credit cards, and that’s a good thing. What we need to do is protect our personal information, our PIN numbers. And we’ve seen a lot of people recently being concerned about the data breaches that have been very prevalent.”

Stroud said shopping online is no more dangerous than at brick-and-mortar stores.

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“Both are safe, let’s be clear,” Stroud said. “Both are practical and useful. But there are different exposures with both of them. For example, when online you want to be protecting your credit card information, the IDs you have and things like that. And when you’re shopping in the store, of course you still want to be secure with your personal identifiable information, your PIN for instance. You want to make sure when you’re entering that with a debit card, you do it in a secure manner, with people not watching. You don’t want to lose that information.”

To watch the full interview, click on the video above.

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