The holiday season can be a frantic time for shoppers. This year was no different as Thanksgiving and Black Friday had an estimated $12.3 billion in sales this year, USA Today reported. For those that decided to forego the craziness of Black Friday, they can instead opt to shop online for Cyber Monday. This anticipated shopping event still offers discounted prices on items, but runs the same identity theft risks as Black Friday.
Online thieves know the holiday season is ripe for online shoppers and Cyber Monday is no different. It is projected that 131 million American will be doing their shopping on this day, NBC News reported. Even though many consumers will be flocking to their computers to find the best deals, scams are more prevalent than ever during this day. William Pelgrin, president and CEO of nonprofit Center for Internet Security, said that consumers should be careful to protect their identity from wherever they shop this time of year.
"Whether you'll be conducting transactions from your desktop, laptop or mobile device, there are many tips you can implement that will help protect you from identity theft, phishing scams and other malicious activity, not only on Cyber Monday, but throughout the year," Pelgrin told The Street.
There are simple ways consumers can avoid scams and other types of malicious cyberactivity and enjoy their holiday shopping.
Avoid Fraudulent Sites
Shoppers may go to great lengths in order to find a stand out deal. This way of thinking may lead consumers to click on illegal pop-up ads or visiting fraudulent sites. Going through with a purchase on a potentially malicious site can lead to personal information or credit info being stolen. The best bet for shopping would be to stick to commonly known sites, The Street recommended. A good rule of thumb is to always look for an "S" in the URL because a website with a URL that starts with "https" indicates a safe and secure site. Shoppers can prevent being victims of fraud if they just quickly look at their web address.
Use Proper Payment Options
While shopping for the holiday's hottest items, consumers should avoid using their debit card for online? purchases. Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, a debit card will not be reimbursed if it has been attained and used by an online thief. Experts recommend using a credit card because charges can be disputed if a consumer has been the victim of fraud or identity theft.
Brett Montgomery is a fraud operations manager at IDentity Theft 911.