Spotting Cyber Monday scams

Investigators

(WNCN) – It’s now considered the biggest shopping day of the year—we’re talking about Cyber Monday.

Last year, online sales topped over $7 billion dollars.

But, lurking in cyberspace, waiting to steal some of that money are scammers who set up fake website and use other tricks to separate you from your cash.

By following some simple guidelines, you can avoid losing money to the bad guys online.

Whether you’re planning to hunt down deals with your phone, tablet or computer, you’ll certainly want to make sure you’re clicking or scanning the right retail sites, not some copycat site run by a con-man.

The proof that cyber criminals are on the prowl is in the numbers:

Last year, crooks got away with nearly $1.5 billion of your dollars.

And there is no shortage of hackers and scam artists trying to make you the next victim.

One report estimates more than 350,000 fake websites have been created this holiday season by criminals who want to take your money.

Another report says cyber criminals are targeting all kinds of e-commerce retailers—not just the big guys.

Experts with the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission say you have to do your homework.

First, make sure the site you’re spending your money on is the real deal.

“Sometimes scammers will create websites that look just like an actual site that is sold…and it’s meant to trick people,” said the BBB’s Mallory Wojciechowski.

So how do you know if the site is legit?  The FTC has been helping to fight phony sites for years.

  • Check out the beginning of the website: it needs to be https.
    The “s” at the end shows the page is secure and your information is encrypted meaning it’s safe to do a transaction.
  • Also make sure the lock logo is in the URL not in the body of the website.
  • Comparison shop between sites, but be careful—if something appears too be to good to be true, it probably is.

When it comes to links or emails promising over-the-top deals, insane cash-back offers or free stuff—steer clear. That’s usually a clear sign someone is trying to deceive you into clicking on their phony site.

And before you do any shopping, protect your computer by updating your virus protection.

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