Cyber Monday: How to protect yourself when you’re shopping online
The hype over Cyber Monday continues to grow, with sales forecasted to jump 15 percent over last year, hitting $2.6 billion. At the same time, identity thieves are poised and ready to take advantage of the activity; the threat of ID theft increases 11 percent in November and December, according to LifeLock identity theft protection.
On Cyber Monday this year, it’s more important than ever to know how to keep yourself safe while shopping online.
Here are some of the most common scams and pitfalls to be aware of—and how to defend yourself against them, all courtesy of LifeLock.
1. Insecure wireless networks.
More than half of American consumers plan on using their smartphones for holiday shopping, according to LifeLock. But before you enter sensitive information, make sure you’re not logged onto an open WiFi network. In fact, be careful when purchasing anything on your phone in public, because you never knew when a thief could be looking over your shoulder and stealing your information.
Bottom line: Be aware when you’re online in public places, or do your online shopping at home with a secure network.
2. The gift card trap.
If you want to buy your loved one a gift card this year, best not to pick a gift card from a display rack. Thieves can take these cards, copy or scan the code under the scratch-off strip, put the card back and then check the toll-free number later to find out if the card was activated.
Instead: Buy a gift card from customer service or better yet, online, where you can also get Cash Back. Not only is your card safer, but you are also saving money.
3. Donations gone bad.
If you are planning on donating old games, phones, tablets or computers after your upgrade from Santa, make sure you don’t leave a trail of information (passwords, credit card numbers) behind you. Wipe all of your devices clean before donating them.