Avoid online shopping scams this holiday season

Delia Watkins
November 29, 2016

From shopping in the store to shopping from the comfort of your home, more than 122 million people across the country are expected to shop on Cyber Monday.

With various social media websites available, many people are putting key personal information about themselves on display for identity thieves.

Spokesman Simon McCulloch told the Sun: 'Cyber Monday is a major retail event and a salmon run for criminals who will try to seize money from unsuspecting shoppers and retail outlets'.

It's important for consumers to be extra cautious when shopping online this holiday season.

If you'll be sneaking in a little online shopping during your workday to cash in on Cyber Monday deals, or staying up late to beat the clock before those deals expire, don't be in such a rush or sleep-deprived fog that you get hooked by a scammer.

If Black Friday wasn't enough, the busiest online shopping day is just hours later. Don't click links to copy the code, instead copy it and use it directly on the retailer's website (even if it's a retail brand you trust).

"If it doesn't look right...stop, back up and check and make sure you're where you think you are", Bouck stated. "You can come in and pick it up, and that's also free shipping".

If you find passwords a burden - consider using password management software like LastPass, 1Password, and KeePass to make them safer and easier to remember.

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Did you, or will you, shop online this Cyber Monday? Same goes for loyalty cards, create a unique password for these accounts too.

If you're hunting for a good Cyber Monday deal, it's pretty much a given that hackers are also on the prowl, hoping you'll fall for tricks that will let them steal your credit card information. "If it seems too good to be true, it is just that". "More and more things are going to online, more companies are online now". If you want to opt out of receiving this type of advertising, download the AppChoices app or visit http://youradchoices.com/.

Make sure no malware is lurking in your system, ready to snatch up your personal information and share it with scammers.

"Credit cards offer consumers more protections than a debit card", says cybersecurity expert Mat Gangwer.

Make sure whatever site you're shopping on has HTTPS enabled.

Taking a sales site as gospel when it announces a "limited time" special can be a risky thing, though.

Be aware of Interest-Based Advertising: As you browse the web or use your favorite store's app while you're shopping, you might notice ads personalized to you, sometimes based on your previous web searches.

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