Be aware of Cyber Monday scams - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Be aware of Cyber Monday scams

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Black Friday shopping broke records over the weekend, and Cyber Monday expectations are high. 

ComScore research expects Americans to spend $1.5 billion, an increase over last year. 

Online retailers have been holding their post-Thanksgiving sales on this date since 2005.

Many people have online access at home, not to mention mobile devices that let them shop anywhere, so some sites started their deals early. 

Cyber Monday is also a big draw for crooks, according to an online security expert.

Matthew Cheng, founder of eCoupons.com and a Graduate Student in Digital Forensics at John Jay College of Criminal Justice has compiled a list of safety tips to protect your self from crime:

1) Don't shop online from your laptop, iPad, or cell phone from an open/unencrypted WiFi network. Hackers can "sniff" or read all unencrypted information traveling through the air. For example, in Facebook, under Security Settings, if you do not enable Secure Browsing, anyone can see your password and any information you read and write. If you do access the internet through an the open network, make sure you access websites start with "https://", this means the connection between you and the website is secure.

2) Unless you have your boss' permission, the same policy holds true for shopping at work. Your workplace computer network can monitor and record your internet activities.

3) Always use a credit card when making online purchases and stick to just one. A credit card gives you added protection against unauthorized charges versus debit cards immediately deduct money from your checking account. Review your statements on a regular basis.

4) Be careful when you press the "Like" button. Like-Liking a page on Facebook gives the owner of the page full access to your Facebook profile details, i.e. name, date of birth, gender, interests, workplace and list of friends.

5) When installing a new App on your iPhone or Android smartphone, make sure you're comfortable with the information it is asking to access i.e. address book, location data, usage, etc.

6) Beware of emails claiming to be shipping notifications from USPS, UPS, Fedex or eBay. Because so many people are shopping online during the holiday season, hackers like to send "notification" emails from popular companies. If the email looks suspicious, never click on the links.

7) Buying a new computer or cell phone and throwing out the old one? Always make sure to securely format the old hard drive to wipe out personal information before recycling. Delete all personal information from your old cell phone.

8) Never email personal financial information. Email is insecure and online companies will never ask you to do this.  When in doubt, call the company directly.

9) When buying on eBay, always check the seller's history and reputation.

Sometimes online auctions are too good to be true. Unscrupulous sellers may even be selling stolen merchandise.

10) When searching in Google, MSN, or Yahoo, don't click on Sponsored Ads that start with a retailer name followed with a different URL below it.  These sponsored ads are typically scams to bring you to another website instead of the one you're really looking for.

Lastly, always make sure you're running an up to date anti-virus program and keep your operating system's up to date.

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