It’s always a good idea to be careful when shopping online but with the arrival of Cyber Monday and holiday shopping time, it’s time to be extra careful as cyber criminals and predators come out in huge numbers.

HOW TO AVOID INTERNET SHOPPING SCAMS

Lots of Deals, Lots of Scams

Lots of Deals, Lots of Scams

  • Watch out for phony websites, spam emails and pop-up ads offering low product, airfare and hotel deals. If you attempt to use one of these deals, you could be providing your personal and financial information to scammers or inadvertently providing them with a means to access your information remotely.
  • Watch out for counterfeit merchandise: If the price is too good to be true, it may be fake product and that includes designer goods, cosmetics, jewelry and much more.
  • Do not click on links in spam emails or pop-up ads to avoid accidentally downloading malware onto your computer.
  • Make certain your virus protection is current and in working order whenever you access the internet.
  • Use a major credit card for all purchases and not a debit card or bank account so you have recourse if you run into any issues.
  • When searching for online deals, be sure to use software such as McAfee SiteAdvisor®, which gives safety advice about risky sites before you click on them.
  • When using an unfamiliar website, look for signs that it may not be legitimate, such as poor grammar, low resolution pictures or spelling errors.  On the other hand, a fabulous and fancy website may also be a problem. Do your research before shopping on any unknown sites.
  • Inability to make contact via telephone is often a sign of a potential issue.  If you are unsure about deals from known companies, you should contact those companies directly to verify the information.  This includes product brands, hotels or airlines.
  • Take time to understand return policies. You want to have recourse if the products you receive are low quality or defective.
  • Do not use free and unprotected Wi-Fi for banking or shopping. Do sensitive online banking and shopping transactions on your secure home network.
  • Keep an eye on your banking and credit card activity by looking out for any transactions that you don’t recognize. Question and report any suspicious activity immediately.

081203-N-2147L-390If you discover you’ve become a victim of an online scam, you can report it to any of the following agencies:

For additional cyber tips pertaining to vacations, holiday travel and holiday shopping, please review, Digital Safety and Security: Holiday Shopping and Travel Tips.

Wishing you a happy, healthy and wonderful Holiday Season.

Until next time,… Stay Cyber Safe.

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