(by Kelley Goldblatt)
The Monday after Thanksgiving Day is known as Cyber Monday. It is a day when online retailers offer special deals and discounts to entice shoppers to visit their websites and purchase products from their online stores. More than 122 million people are expected to participate this year. The popularity of this day has also drawn scammers and cyber thieves who want to take advantage of unsuspecting shoppers.
Cyber criminals are looking to gain access to customers’ personal information and computer information. Once this information is obtained, criminals can steal a persons’ identity, make fraudulent purchases with their financial information, take control of a users’ computer, and much more. The tips below can assist Cyber Monday participants in making smart decisions whenever making online purchases.
Tips for staying safe:
- Make sure that your purchasing device (computer, smartphone, tablet, etc) has anti-virus protection.
- Don’t make purchases over a free and/or public Wi-Fi
- Pause before clicking on any links from websites that are not well known to the shopper. If you do see a deal you are interested in, go to that company’s website through your Web browser, not from a hyperlink within an email.
- Do not download files. No deals will be found in a .zip or .exe attachment. Stores will not make customers download files with additional pricing information.
- Consider proactive deal-hunting. There are major aggregate sites that can help shoppers roundup and find deals from other trusted websites.
- When purchasing a product online, make sure to use a credit card and a site that uses SSL encryption. SSL encryption will be denoted by the URL starting with “https”.
- Be aware, debit cards and electronic money transfer accounts (PayPal) do not offer the same level of consumer protection as credit cards.
- Log off from the site once the order is completed.