How to Safeguard Yourself on Cyber Monday

Posted on 11/16/2012

Cyber Monday may be a great day to score deals, but it's also a popular time for scammers to steal identities. Plenty of shoppers already feel leery about their online security. According to the National Cyber Security Alliance, within the past year one in four Americans has received notification that a portion of their personal information was compromised by a data breach. So if you plan on deal hunting this Cyber Monday consider these tips for warding off online predators.

Only Complete Required Fields Have you ever noticed that companies present long forms for you to fill out, but in reality only a portion of the information is required to make a purchase? Experts say look for the asterisk and only fill in the data that is needed to complete the transaction-- nothing more. There's no reason to share more personal information than necessary.

Look for Secure Sites
There are several clues that identify whether a site is secure or not. Look for a padlock image to appear in the address bar. Another good sign is when the URL begins with the letters "https" or "shttp." These signal that it's safe to pay with a credit card.

Consider the Source
If you're prompted to click a link to access an incredible Cyber Monday sale, consider the source. Is it from a trusted Twitter account or a legitimate email address? If you're not sure, don't click the link. Instead Google the sale or type the company's URL directly into your address bar.

Beware of Malicious Mobile Apps
One in four shoppers plans to use their mobile device for online shopping this holiday season, many using mobile apps to make a purchase. McAfee says there's a chance you could download a malicious app designed to hack your private data or even send out premium-rate text messages without your knowledge. Do your research before you download these potentially dangerous apps.

Update Your Software
Although updating your software can seem like a pain, it's an important step for internet security. That's because when you're running the latest version of a piece of software, it's less likely to be susceptible to malware or viruses.

Click Print
As much as you probably dislike paper clutter, you may need to collect some on Cyber Monday. Maintain records of your online transactions, especially if you're dealing with a little-known retailer or private seller. Print your receipt and the terms of sale. Keep a file of your purchases for the entire holiday season.

By Alison Storm

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