Black Friday is behind us, but the bargains don't stop there. Online shoppers will get their shopping fix on Cyber Monday. But if you're one of the millions of people who plan to hit the World Wide Web, you'll want to make sure your personal information is safe.
Consumers are expected to spend $1.4 billion online for Cyber Monday. And with every transaction comes a wealth of personal information.
But if you take the right precautions, all of your information should still be yours at the end of the day.
There is no way to guarantee your personal information will never be stolen. But, when you’re shopping online, there are certain things you can do to drastically minimize the risk. It all begins with which piece of plastic you pull out of your wallet.
"Use a credit card instead of a debit card. You can dispute fraudulent purchases more effectively on credit cards than you can on debit cards," Southeast Technical Institute Networking Instructor Dan Larsen said.
Larsen says if someone steals your debit card information and makes a purchase, you will most likely be stuck with the bill. But with a credit card, it will usually fall back on the credit issuer.
"I would also say, if you're looking at a sale, make sure to verify in your URL bar that it is a secured site. It will have "https" and a prefix on the front of the address. There will also be a little lock in the browser showing that it is secured and verified by a third-party credential," Larsen said.
He also says if a sale looks too good to be true, it probably is. There are also sites out there set up specifically to steal your information. So he says you want to make sure the site doesn't look like it was put together in a hurry with pictures that don't come up or wrong descriptions with the merchandise. One of the most important things might be to make sure you don't use a public internet connection such as at a coffee shop or airport.
“Everyone who’s within range of that radio transmitting and receiving can intercept that information. And it's much like being in a room like we are right now where we're speaking with students; they can hear everything we say. Unsecured wireless is like trying to be secretive between two people in a room full of 20,” Larsen said.
Larsen also says that if a vendor emails you and asks for more financial information, it will almost always be a scam. Legitimate retailers will never ask for information via email.
You can find Cyber Monday sales and coupon codes on the KELOLAND Shops page of KELOLAND.com.