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Tips to Keep Online Scammers Away on Cyber Monday

With Cyber Monday right around the corner, shoppers can expect to see a lot of great deals, and a ton of online scams. IDentity Theft 911 offers a list of tips for safe shopping online.

With Cyber Monday right around the corner, shoppers can expect to see a lot of great deals, and a ton of online scams. To help consumers protect against identity theft this holiday season, IDentity Theft 911 is offering a list of tips for safe shopping online.

  • Shop on secure sites. They’ll have “https” in the address bar and a yellow padlock logo to the right of the Web browser address bar. Double-click on the lock to see a digital certificate of the website. Review these certificates on unfamiliar sites.
  • Enter correct URLs. Hackers often buy misspelled domains to trick people into entering personal information.
  • Keep your Social Security number safe. Never enter your Social Security number or passwords to email and bank accounts as part of the buying process with online retailers.
  • Use different passwords for online retailers, personal email and banks accounts. If a hacker cracks one password, he won’t have access to others.
  • Read site reviews before making any purchases. Pricegrabber.com compares prices and users’ comments on retail websites. Google Product Search, slickdeals.net and dealnews.com monitor retailers, site performance, possible issues and deals.
  • Never save personal information on an online retail website. Retailers will offer convenience and better deals, but many customer databases are breached by identity thieves. It’s not worth the risk.
  • Read website return and privacy policies before making purchases. If there’s any doubt about fairness, find another site.
  • Be aware of phishing email scams that include website links advertising incredible deals. Don’t click on them. Type the link directly into your browser.
  • Use credit cards, not debit cards. Try to use credit cards with low limits to minimize the damage if a thief takes over the account. Or, use a “one-time” credit card number from payment processors such as PayPal.
  • Never link a bank account to an online pay service such as PayPal. Hackers could break into the PayPal account and drain money from the linked bank account.
  • Never send payment information via regular email. It’s not secure. Make sure all personal information transactions are done on a secure site.
  • Uncheck boxes advertising “additional offers.” These services are sometimes offered for a low initial fee that later increases to a high, recurring charge on your credit card. Also, they’ll issue your contact information to spammers.
  • Secure mobile phones used for shopping. Back them up regularly and enable security features such as power on password and inactivity time lock. Learn how to clear browser caches and, if available, enable data encryption and antivirus applications.
  • As always, install and update antivirus, anti-malware and firewall software. Ensure that your computer's operating system and Internet browser is updated with the latest security patches.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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