Tips to avoid cyber criminals' scams on Cyber Monday
Cyber Monday marks the busiest online shopping day of the year.
While multitudes of consumers will take advantage of deep online discounts, they may be unaware cyber criminals also use the retail holiday to their advantage — and not for bargains.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane is warning that Cyber Monday is a "powerful platform for scammers to steal money and identities," especially when shoppers are pressured into making hasty purchases by one-off offers and limited-time only sales.
Here are Kane's tips for consumers to protect their identities - and their wallets - on Monday. Follow these guidelines, keep calm and shop on:
- Stick to shopping on trustworthy websites. Tempting deals from obscure websites might be a scam in disguise.
- Use a credit card. Under federal law, charges may be disputed if an item is not received.
- Confirm your online purchase is secure. On pages where you will enter a password, credit card or other personal information, look for the "s" in "https://" and in the lower-right corner for the "lock" symbol.
- Understand the return policy.
- Know your rights. Federal law requires that orders made by mail, phone or online be shipped by the date promised or, if no delivery time was stated, within 30 days.
- Check your credit statement frequently. By the time the bill comes in the following month, a thief may have burned through your limit.
- Beware of phishing (soliciting personal information through electronic communication). Legitimate businesses do not send emails claiming problems with an order or an account to lure a buyer into revealing financial information.
- Protect your computer. Make sure your computer has the most recent updates for spam filters, anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a secure firewall.
Anyone with questions or concerns about holiday scams can contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-441-2555, or to file a complaint online.