Just when you've had time to recover from Black Friday, it's Cyber Monday -- a day for shopping from the comfort of home.
While avoiding crowds and getting great bargains is enjoyable, Cyber Monday can be full of hazards for those shoppers who fail to take the proper precautions.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation offers several tips to make your Cyber Monday shopping experience safe and enjoyable:
- Avoid becoming the victim of a bogus online classified ad or auction scheme by providing financial information using only a legitimate payment service -- not directly to the seller.
- Check each seller's feedback ratings and track record.
- Exercise caution when buying gift cards online through classifieds or auctions. It is safer to buy directly from a merchant or authorized retailer.
- Ignore suspicious emails and text messages directing recipients to follow a link or call a number to update account information. This scam, known as phishing, can result in the loss of your personal and financial data.
- Even if a website seems legitimate, make sure it is secure by looking for the tiny padlock icon that typically indicates a higher level of security.
- Be very cautious when responding to emailed offers, particularly those from other countries.
- Make sure your computer has a firewall and that your anti-virus software is up to date.
- Last, but not least, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
If you do end up as the victim of an online scam, you can file a complaint on the Internet Crime Complaint Center website.