Cyber Monday Scams

Avoid Cyber Monday Scams

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, has long been a tradition. Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, is the rapidly growing counterpart to Black Friday.

Those looking for a bargain turn to the internet on Cyber Monday after exhausting their brick-and-mortar options on the preceding Friday.

From 2011 to 2012, consumer spending on the internet on Cyber Monday increased by 16 percent and has been growing ever since.

Though the internet makes shopping more convenient for many people, fraudsters have not missed the opportunity to exploit online shoppers. Cyber Monday scams are a growing trend, which means that consumers need to be on guard while shopping.

Avoid Cyber Monday scams by following the online fraud prevention tips below.

1. Keep Software Current

Internet safety 101 is to keep your software–especially antivirus and antispyware–current. Most systems will automatically update when the provider releases new features. But if your software requires manual updating, such as phone apps, then do a manual update once a week and right before you do your holiday shopping.

Installing pop-up blockers and other security apps to detect scam websites can also prevent you from being victimized in a Cyber Monday scam.

2. Shop Through Secure Sites

The software updates listed above will help you ensure that you are shopping with a secure site. A good rule of thumb for determining if a site is secure is to look at the address bar.

If it starts with “https” and not “http” or if there is a lock in the address bar, then the site is most likely secure.

3. Shop With Who You Know

Patronizing businesses you have dealt with in the past is another good way to avoid fraud.

Remember that if you are shopping on a site like eBay or Amazon, you are dealing with individual sellers. Look at seller feedback and check for posted contact information and return policies.

You can contact the Better Business Bureau or other consumer protection agencies to check the legitimacy of other online retailers.

4. Use a Secure Connection

Internet in public libraries and cafes may be free, but the connection is far from secure. You don’t know who else is using the connection and for what purpose.

It is easy for hackers to install spyware on your device through public connections, so do not enter sensitive information into your device while using such a connection.

5. Do Not Click On Pop-Ups

Most pop-ups cause no more harm than mild annoyance, but some pop-ups carry nasty viruses when you click on them. No matter how tempting the offer in the pop-up may be, play it safe and do not click.

6. Do Not Use Links In Email Advertisements

Many businesses send tantalizing email offers to encourage subscribers to shop with them. As great as these offers can be, always access these offers through the company’s site.

Following a fraudulent link in email ad and entering your information makes you an easy target for scam artists.

7. Give To Charities You Know

The holidays tend to bring in a flood of donations to charity. Before you add your contribution, make sure that the charity you are supporting is legitimate. Popular Cyber Monday scams include fake charity sites taking donations, so only give to a charity you know or have researched well.

8. Credit Is Better Than Debit

Credit card fraud protection is generally better than the protection that exists for debit cards. When shopping online, use credit–not debit. Refunds are easier to get with credit cards and your personal information is more secure.

Get Your Money Back from Scammers

If you do become a victim on a Cyber Monday scam, let eConsumer Services® know. We’ll help you get a refund or make an exchange. Fill out the form to the right (it only takes a few minutes) and we’ll get started right away.

These are just a few tips to keep your virtual identity safe this holiday shopping season. By following these tips, you are less likely to fall victim to Cyber Monday scams.