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Beware of Getting Scammed On Cyber Monday


Person holding credit card next to a laptop depicting online shopping. | Image by Oleksandra Troian

Cyber Monday is the Monday following Thanksgiving, where you can find some of the best deals online. Some deals could be too good to be true. Cyber safety is important to remember as you shop for those holiday steals.

Norton, a leader in cyber security, suggests the following tips to ensure your purchases and your identity remain safe during your Cyber Monday shopping.

Shop with retailers that are familiar.

Bookmark your favorite stores’ websites to avoid clicking on ads, emails, or texts that may send you to a website that may look like your favorite store. These could be fake sites set up by scammers who sell counterfeit or poorly manufactured products.

Shop on secure websites.

How do you know that a website is secure to shop on? Look for an icon that looks like a lock in the top left-hand corner of the website. Also, the website should start with HTTPS, not HTTP.

If you do not see it, click on the website link to see the full URL. All secure sites use SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption to make sure the data you enter is not visible by hackers while it is being transferred to the retailer. When you see these security features, it is okay to enter your credit card and personal information.

The tried and true rule of thumb – if it is too good to be true, it probably is. Some hackers will set up fake online stores to collect credit card numbers.

AARP says to look out for discounts more than fifty percent, misspelled words, customer service emails that are Gmail or Yahoo instead of a corporate account, and URLs with strange words or a long sequence of letters instead of simply the stores’ names.

These simple tips are just some of the things you should look for to determine if the website you are shopping on is legitimate.

If you created an account with your favorite retailer, be sure to use a strong password. It is also a good idea not to store your card information with the retailer. Sure it is an extra step to enter your credit card information every time you shop, but it will keep you safe from scammers getting your information and making purchases.

Do not shop online in public; hackers will sit in malls, coffee shops, and libraries to get consumers’ information over public Wi-Fi. If you have no choice but to shop in public, use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to transmit your information securely.

Just like Santa, check your list of purchases twice to make sure the amount and what you bought are correct. If you spot a transaction that was not authorized, report it immediately. The sooner you do, the easier it will be to get your money back to you.

Finally, make sure your software is up to date. MetaCompliance suggests updating to the latest versions of browsers and software so hackers will not be able to gain your information due to outdated systems that could be unsafe. Happy Cyber Monday!

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