Shop Safe on Cyber Monday

Approximately 58 million shoppers wrestled their way into stores on Black Friday, giving retailers a $9 billion boost.

Today, online retailers say it's their turn.

"They call it 'Cyber Monday' because folks go back to work," said ABC News technology contributor Becky Worley. "They have the high-speed connections, and they dive into the shopping sites."

According to a survey by the National Retail Foundation, 61 million people are expected to shop online at work this holiday season, up 18 percent from last year.

As the popularity of Internet shopping grows so do the dangers.

"During the holiday season, people let their guard down. Scammers are jumping on the opportunity. You need to be extra vigilant this time of year," Worley said.

Shoppers have become so comfortable sharing their personal information and credit card numbers online, they now run the risk of passing that data along to online predators.

Two recent studies suggest that about one in 10 online shoppers are expected to become victims of fraud this holiday season.

Almost 40 percent of this year's identity theft will happen between Nov. 15 and Dec. 31.

Regina Lewis, an AOL consumer adviser, visited "Good Morning America" to share tips on how consumers could buy online and stay safe.

Watch Out for E-Mail From Scammers

Scammers are sending out mass e-mails that you may get in your inbox, saying there's been a problem with your order.

Don't take the bait. A real online retailer would never ask you to send information through an e-mail.

It would tell you to go to its Web site and update your account information there.

Only Use Credit Cards Online

Don't buy with a debit card; credit cards offer more protection.

If there's an issue, such as gifts getting damaged in shipping, the credit card company will be tied up while things are reconciled.

Your bank account won't be affected, as it would be if you had used a debit card.

Make Sure the Site's Secure

Before putting in any credit card information, look at the address bar and make sure it reads "https," instead of just "http."

The extra "s" stands for secure. When you see the "s," you know that the site is secure and that your credit card information is on a secure server.

Comparison-Shop for Good Deals

There are great shopping-comparison sites like shopzilla.com, bizrate.com, and nextag.com.

Type in whatever gift you're looking for, and the sites scan 80,000 different Web retailers for 35 million different items.

In seconds, you get a list of where that gift is available for the best price, and the service is free.

Don't Be Afraid of Smaller Retailers

If you're using a comparison tool, don't be afraid of shopping at sites you haven't head of.

The comparison sites are vetting the e-tailers for you. They all have to meet a certain standard and be credible, or they won't show up in the first place.

Plus, the e-tailers that you haven't heard of often have the best deals. They're willing to undercut the big guys, because they need to establish themselves.

Search for Coupons Before Buying

Remember that you can often get a coupon for free or reduced shipping, or a percentage off your order even if the site isn't automatically offering it.

Just enter the name of the retailer, the "+" sign, and "coupon code" or "promo code" into a search engine to find a code. Or go to gottadeal.com, which also lists coupon codes.

null
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...