PROVO — “I feel like most the shopping’s going to be online, you know, Cyber Monday,” says Chase Poulson. For shoppers like Poulson, online shopping is the most convenient way to make purchases especially around the holiday season. Standing in front of Target, Paulson remarked, “Most the stuff I want isn’t even at Target, it’s elsewhere. I don’t even have to drive there; I can just go online and buy it.”
According to Adobe analytics, it’s predicted that consumers will spend $143.8 billion on discounted products this Cyber Monday, but that doesn’t come without the risks. Cybercrime is at an all-time high during the holidays, and fraudulent emails are the number one way that hackers can steal your information.
“One of the things to look out for on Cyber Monday especially, is if things seem too good to be true,” says Rob Banquera, public information officer for the Roseville, California Police Department. “They send out click bait. It could say, ‘Hey, I have a great offer for you to look at,’ and they will send you this random link that sends you off to a site that is unknown and potentially dangerous.”
So, what should you do if you spot this?
“Pick up the phone, call, verify, but also hover over that link and it will give you the path that you’re about ready to go down.” Banquera says that a general rule of thumb is to never click on a link sent by email or an advertisement, but to search for the company on your own.
Banquera also advised to shop from companies that you know because third party suppliers can be potentially dangerous, just as with this example found on Facebook:
Two ways to know if a website is secure is to make sure that the web domain contains “https” — the “s” stands for secure — and to look for the lock symbol in the address bar. In this situation, “patagoniaestore.com” lacks both, showing that it isn’t secure.
Other safety measures Rob suggests are using private wifi rather than going to a library or coffee shop, making sure your computer software is updated to fend off spam, and to only make purchases using a credit card.
“Credit cards provide you that extra protection if your order doesn’t go through or if there’s a problem with your purchase in general,” says Banquera.
Taking these tips into consideration will make for a safe Cyber Monday!