Cyber Monday: Tips for Staying Safe While Getting the Online Deal
How to avoid scams and protect your identity while shopping for great holiday deals online.
If you missed out on Black Friday or “Small Business Saturday” you still have one more chance to snag great holiday sales. Cyber Monday will continue through tonight allowing you to shop from home while avoiding the crowds.
One thing to keep in mind, however, are thieves who are looking to ruin your holiday season by making a quick buck off of your personal information. Here are few tips to help you stay safe:
Don’t be click happy. If you receive emails from unknown senders, which offer “great” deals that sound too good to be true, it might be a scam. If you’re unsure, don’t click. Instead, open up your Web browser and enter the URL to the site offering the discounts you're looking for. If you can't find the deal chances are it was fake.
It’s all about trust. Only shop at sites you're familiar with. You can always check out the Better Business Bureau to see if the site you're visiting is accredited by the group. The National Retail Federation's CyberMonday.com also has a list of legitimate retailers offering Cyber Monday discounts.
Pay with credit cards only. Federal laws let you dispute an item on your credit card bill if you don't receive your purchase. Debit cards on the other hand take much longer to dispute and the money has already been spent. The other nice thing about credit cards is that most providers have "zero liability" policies, which means you're off the hook if someone pretends to be you.
Stay safe. As with any guide to online security, make sure that you're operating system and antivirus software are up to date. That way if you do end up on a malicious site you have the best protection. You should also use a modern Web such as Google Chrome, Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox.
In 2010, Cyber Monday accounted for nearly 1 billion dollars of online sales, passing Black Friday as the busiest shopping day of the year. The bottom line: Cyber Monday is a great time to take advantage of deals. Just remember to rely on your own common sense and these tips to stay safe and secure.