Cyber Monday is quickly creeping up on shoppers who want to grab the best deals possible from the favorite online retailers. But it also means cyber criminals are busy putting together their holiday lists of websites and shoppers to target.
Each year, more and more shoppers fall prey to “unbeatable deals” that are actually false links for hackers to gain access to your information to do holiday shopping of their own. Pop ups looking like they are from popular online retailers like Amazon can show up promoting great deals on TVs and DVDs, but if they aren’t directly associated with the Amazon website, it’s likely the pop up has been designed by a hacker and is going to take you somewhere you don’t want to go. Luckily, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane provided some great tips to The Philadelphia Inquirer to help you avoid becoming prey to criminals on Cyber Monday:
- Shop on websites you know are legitimate. Don’t go off grid for that deal that sounds too good to be true. In all likelihood it is too good to be true, and you’re putting your computer at high risk.
- Review site privacy policies. Double check to make sure your information isn’t going to be shared and that you are shopping on a secure site. Secure sites will most of the time tell you they are secure during the checkout process.
- Pay with a credit card. Under federal law, you can dispute credit card charges if they are not charges you have approved or made yourself.
- Keep track of your order date and guaranteed delivery date. Federal law also mandates orders made by phone, mail or online be shipped on the date promised, or if no date is given, by 30 days after the order is placed.
- Keep a close eye on your credit card and bank statements. If you made a purchase you are concerned about or think your information has been compromised, your statements are the first place you’ll notice something off kilter.
- Social media scams. Hackers love to use fake Facebook and Twitter profiles in an attempt to trick you into clicking on their links to shop what you think is a legitimate site.
- Don’t overestimate the safety of your mobile devices. While you hear most cyber scams targeting computers, your phone or tablet is no safer than your computer when it comes to sharing information or getting your information stolen.
By no means should you avoid shopping online altogether. As with anything else computer related, the best tip we can offer is to be smart and vigilant. Don’t just click on any and every link to see where you can shop the cheapest. You want to stick to giving gifts to your family and friends and not be paying for gifts for other families you don’t even know.