You've seen them everywhere on the internet. Cyber Monday Ads telling consumers where to shop and how much they are going to save. But there's not always a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Hackers, scammers and thieves are just as excited for Cyber Monday as you are.
So, you've waited patiently because you knew Cyber Monday was just around the corner. Whether you plan to shop online at work or in the comfort of your pajamas, Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving) is the biggest day of the year to find the best online deals.
— Ginger Problems (@GingerProblems) November 30, 2013
— JCPenney (@jcpenney) November 30, 2013
According to Adobe Digital Index, which is a digital marketing and digital media solution company, shoppers spent more cash last year on Cyber Monday than any other single day in online shopping history. Adobe is expecting that trend to continue and is currently tracking a 15 percent sales increase which could potentially top over $2 billion. Yes, that's $2 billion in just one day, all online.
So if everyone has seen the ads and knows about the great deals on Cyber Monday, one would have to expect that it would also be a prime day for hackers and fake websites. However, there are many ways to protect yourself. The Better Business Bureau wrote a list of the top ten tips to safeguard shoppers from potential cyber disaster. Take a minute to look it over. It's always better to be safe than sorry.
1. Protect your computer. This means keeping your anti-virus and spam filters up to date.
2. Shop on trustworthy sites. If you're not sure about the website you're thinking about making a purchase from go to the BBB site www.bbb.org, to check out who is doing the selling. There are plenty of fake websites out in cyberspace that do a good job of camouflaging themselves to look legit.
3. Protect your personal information. Always read a site's private policy information.
4. Beware of deals that sound too good to be true. If you get a sense that a deal is outrageously amazing. Guess what? It probably is some sort of a scam. Use your common sense.
5. Beware of phishing. If a company sends you an email stating that there is something "wrong" with an order and they need your credit card information, go running. Better yet, report the company to the BBB or call the company directly.
6. Confirm your online purchase is secure. Once again always check the integrity of the site. There should be a lock symbol in the lower right hand corner that lets you know that the site is safe.
7. Pay with a credit card. You can dispute all charges made with plastic under the federal law. If a hacker swipes your credit card information, you are also most likely protected under your card's zero liability policy.
8. Keep documentation of your order. Be sure to save every email from the website regarding your purchase.
9. Check your credit card statements often. Keep an eye out for suspicious activity. Know all the purchases you or anyone else makes who uses the card (your spouse or kids).
10. Know your rights. By law, if a company claims that a product will be shipped by a certain date, it has to be shipped by that date. If you don't receive your order, it is within your rights to cancel or get your money back. That refund policy also holds true for any damaged goods.
Have fun and keep safe. Use your instincts and enjoy the incredible savings on Cyber Monday. Happy Holidays!