On the Monday after Thanksgiving, known as Cyber Monday, hundreds of online merchants will discount their products to lure holiday shoppers. Web surfers will click their way to deals and discounts on everything from toys to travel, but some may be putting themselves at risk of identity theft.
Last year consumers spent $1.25 billion on Cyber Monday purchases, according to comstore.com. This year the National Retail Federation expects that number to jump by about 12%.
To lessen the possibility of falling prey to identity theft, Internet security provider AVG Technologies is offering consumers some tips for navigating Cyber Monday shopping safely, including:
- Use the same credit card for all online shopping, preferably one with a low limit and a zero-liability policy for fraudulent charges.
- Don’t make purchases over unsecured networks such as public Wi-Fi. Hackers can easily see what you enter, including account numbers and other personal information.
- Put a password on laptops, tablets and smartphones and enable remote locking and wiping capabilities in case of loss or theft.
- Only shop trusted websites who use SSL protocol to protect your account information.
- Install anti-virus security programs on your computer and smartphone before shopping.
“If you have security software on your computer or mobile device it’s relatively safe to shop online this holiday season, especially if you transact predominantly with big-brand retailers,” said J.R, Smith, CEO of AVG.
The 2012 Identity Fraud Survey Report from Javelin Strategy & Research said that 11.1 million Americans were the victims of identity theft last year. It takes an average of 330 hours to resolve, so shop safely this holiday season.