Cyber Monday Scams to Avoid

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Posted on 11/21/2011

Millions of shoppers spending fistfuls of cash on gifts and there’s no packed parking lot to show for it? It must be Cyber Monday, celebrated annually at the start of the work week following Thanksgiving. Before you boot up and pull out your credit card you’ll want to get educated on some possible Cyber Monday scams that could threaten your holiday cheer.


Scam Websites The Internet makes competitive shopping very easy. But if you find what you’re looking for at an incredible price on a website you’ve never heard of make sure you do your research before clicking “buy.” According to the Better Business Bureau you should find out how long they’ve been in business and what their customer service track record is. You can do both of those things at bbb.org.


Mobile Phone Hackers
This year mobile shopping will be huge on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. A study from InMobi found that around 60 million people will use their phone to bargain hunt on Black Friday and Cyber Monday with one in three of those people making purchases on their devices. The problem? Most people don’t have the same identity theft and virus protection enabled on their phones. For instance, Norton offers Mobile Security Lite app for free in the Android Market. It will detect and remove mobile security threats from cybercriminals trying to steal your personal information.


Dangerous Search Terms
F-Secure, an Internet security company says some search terms result in a screen full of malicious links that can put a virus on your computer faster than you can type in your credit card number. Last holiday season those dangerous search terms included Kinect for Xbox, Amazon Kindle, Toys, Black Friday Deals, Cyber Monday Deals and Apple iPad. This doesn’t mean you can’t search with those terms, just make sure you’re aware that cybercriminals are hoping you do.


Fake Ads
Some scammers use ads as a way to attack their targets. Avoid clicking on ads—especially on Cyber Monday. Instead type in a web address yourself or only use links from trusted sources like a company Facebook page or official email.


Strict Return Policy
While a strict return policy may not fall perfectly into the “scam” category, it can feel like it when you’re stuck with something you don’t want. Research a company’s return policy to make sure you’re comfortable completing the purchase. Consumer Reports just released their 2011 Naughty & Nice Holiday List which investigates retailer shopping policies. Those on the good list this year include American Express, Costco and Amazon.com. On the naughty list are companies like RadioShack, American Apparel and GameStop. We hope you get exactly what you’re shopping for on Cyber Monday, but if you don’t it’s nice to know you can return it if necessary.


By Alison Storm


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