It is estimated that we will spend $4 billion online this year, including on Cyber Monday, coming up in just a few days.

With the increase in online shopping, particularly over the holidays, it is prime time for scheming scammers to take advantage of the unwary online shopper. Here are some things to think about while shopping online:

  • Shop directly from the store and/or brand’s website instead of through a search engine. If you find something through a search engine, actually buy it through the manufacturer’s or brand’s direct website.
  • Be wary of “deals” on Facebook and other social media sites. They can be fake or compromised Facebook accounts that ask you for credit card information or financial information and steal it. If a deal is too good to be true, it probably is a scam. Don’t give your credit card or other financial information through a social media site.
  • Be very cautious about Cyber Monday emails with embedded links or attachments that ask you to open them for a coupon or special deal. Any attachments or links in an email is suspect and may contain malware or ransomware. Delete them and do not open attachments or links.
  • Use credit cards instead of debit cards when shopping online. A debit card gives a criminal direct access to your bank account, whereas if there is a fraudulent charge on the credit card, the bank will investigate and potentially reimburse you for some, if not all, of the fraudulent charges.
  • Do not be tempted by pop-ups offering amazing deals. If you click on it, it could contain malware or ransomware. Again, if the offer is too good to be true, it is probably a scam.
  • When you check out, confirm that you are on a secure connection by making sure there is a padlock icon to the left of the URL of the site and the URL should say https, which means it is a secure transmission.
  • Don’t shop online using public wifi. Why does anyone use public wifi anymore? It is not secure!
  • Update your security software on both your computer and your mobile phone before you go shopping online.

Happy Thanksgiving and safe shopping during this holiday season!