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How to Shop Safely on Cyber Monday

By Jason Beahm on November 24, 2010 8:59 AM

Attention holiday shoppers: the Monday after Thanksgiving is hereby dubbed "Cyber Monday."

Much like "Black Friday," Cyber Monday is a day dedicated to post holiday sales. The twist is that the sales are offered online. Last year, 96.5 million Americans shopped online on Cyber Monday. That number is expected to grow this year. Over 54 percent of Americans with internet access plan to shop online on Cyber Monday.

However, with all that online shopping, there are risks involved. The Better Business Bureau put together a list of 10 ways to avoid becoming a victim this year. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Protect your computer - Make sure your computer is up to date with spam filters, anti-virus, anti-spyware and a firewall.
  • Shop on trustworthy websites - Scammers are getting better at making their fake sites look real, but there are still a lot of tip offs for scam sites. If prices seem way too good to be true, run a Google search with the name of the site and the word "scam." It works almost every time.
  • Beware of phishing - If you get an e-mail after your order asking for more personal information be extremely wary, it could be a site phishing for more information for identity theft.
  • Confirm your online purchase is secure - Look for sites that offer https and show a "lock" symbol indicating a secure purchase.

Here is another tip of my own: avoid doing your holiday shopping at Wi-Fi hotspots, and make sure your home Wi-Fi network is secure. On a non-secured Wi-Fi network, it is very easy for thieves to see the information you are sending and steal it.

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