ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Whether you choose to shop in-person on Black Friday, or online on Cyber Monday, there are risks that come with the reward of a good deal. There are ways you can keep your information safe when grabbing discounts on the web.
This first piece of advice may seem obvious: Make sure you’re actually on the retailer’s website. It’s a common scam tactic to clone the real store’s name and make a slight change to its spelling that could be easily overlooked.
“You want to make sure it actually says walmart.com, and it doesn’t have the letter ‘L’ exchanged for a ‘1,’” explained Chris Maulding, Tech Lead at Leet Cyber Security.
Shop with a secure connection. Check to see if the URL starts with https, and that there’s a lock symbol next to it. That means the communications are encrypted and less likely to be swiped during an attack.
“You don’t want to be putting your info anywhere that doesn’t have that lock present, because you’re putting your info in clear text. It can be sniffed, it can be stolen, and you could very well be putting it into a fake website,” Maulding said.
Avoid looking for an item by typing it into your search bar. Instead of using Google or Bing to find the best iPad deal, go straight to retailer websites like Best Buy and Amazon, and compare the prices. An open search could lead you to a malicious or deceptive link, with a deal that’s likely too good to be true.
If the worst case scenario happens and you think you may have fallen victim to a cyber scam, contact your credit card company or banking institution and let them know. Continue monitoring your statements, as some scammers may deduct money in small amounts to avoid suspicion, or the scammer may wait a couple of months before making purchases so it’s less expected.