Cyber Monday prompts warning about online safety

If you were one of the millions who went online today or are planning some Cyber Monday purchases, this evening, you’re not alone. Billions of dollars in sales are expected today. But while consumers are shopping, scammers are not only plotting, but stealing at least some people’s money.

“And the more people that are shopping online, the more targets that are available to crooks,’ says Shawn Tuma, a Data Protection Expert. “A lot of what we see, i.e. criminals taking advantage is carelessness or sometimes a general lack of cyber awareness, but awareness could help minimize the risk and hopefully keep people from having to deal with credit card fraud or identity theft during the holidays.”

Tuma also has a blog on security measures which include the following:

** Always make sure the site you’re on is legitimate (he says scammers are cloning real sites and emails so be aware.)

** Don’t click on links you receive in unsolicited emails, even if you’re pretty sure it’s the actual merchant. (He says just go directly to the site yourself. Any sales advertised in the email will be apparent on the website.)

** Be certain you are using a secure Internet connection. (He says that means no free Wifi at random coffee shops or malls. If you put in credit or debit card information and your connection is unprotected, that information could be stolen.

** Be mindful of security issues on mobile devices. (He says many people don’t have the kind of anti-virus and security protections they should have on their phones for example.)

** Make purchases only with a credit card because a bogus purchase is easier to dispute and you’re not out the money from your bank account the way you would be if you used your debit card and that card was compromised.

** Make a purchase as a guest on a website. Tuma does not suggest that you “register” which offers the merchant an opportunity to store your information, which may include credit card number. He says many merchants are hacked these days so your information may be compromised that way.

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