So you made it through Black Friday without getting trampled or pick-pocketed. The worst is over and you can relax in your pajamas and embark on Cyber Monday? Don't be fooled there are as many hazards in cyberspace as there is in your local mall. Below are some tips designed to help guide you safely through your cyber shopping.
1. Make sure your computer's security software is updated. If set up correctly, most programs will give you a pop or alert, or a warning to let you know that the site you are about to enter may be malicious.
2. Stick to websites that you know and trust. If something doesn't look right, keep surfing. If you think the site looks legitimate but you still feel a little leery, do an online search, and try to find out what other people are saying about the site. Search under Google news or Yahoo news to see if there have been any recent headlines.
3. So, you shop safe and stick to big retail outlets that you know and trust. Before entering your personal data, make sure you do in fact have the correct websites. Scammers will often purchase a domain name that is an incorrect spelling of a legitimate site.
4. Once you make it to the screen to enter your credit card information, make sure the web address begins with https:// instead of http://. The "S" stands for Secure. Don't enter your information on a site that is not secure. You may also see a lock icon at the top or bottom of your screen.
5. Make sure you know what you're getting. Christmas can be a great time to splurge and give your significant other a luxury item, such a designer handbag or watch. Don't get caught up in what looks like a great bargain. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. If purchasing these items through an online retailer, ask for proof or authenticity to make sure that you are not purchasing counterfeit goods.
6. One last safety tip is a reminder for parents to make sure the toys they are purchasing for their children are safe. Toys, especially those designed for young children, are often subject to recall for small parts and choking hazards. The Consumer Product Safety Commission keeps a detailed list of all recalled products, including toys, on their website: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/category/toy.html. As you complete your Holiday Shopping, please check the recall list from time to time to be sure that no dangerous toys end up under your Christmas Tree.
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