The National Consumers League has released their Top Ten Cyber Monday Shopping Tips:
1. Do not shop online on an unencrypted or open wireless network, like at an airport of coffee shop. Entering financial information on an open network can leave your computer open to hackers.
2. Secure your computer before shopping online. Before connecting to the internet, install anti-virus and anti-spyware programs, a personal firewall, and keep them up to date.
3. Know who you are dealing with. Before shopping online with an unknown store, check out the seller and the site's track record. Be sure to also get the name and physical address of the vendor in case something goes wrong.
4. Pay with a credit card, especially when you are purchasing something that will be delivered later. Credit cards are the safest form of payment, since under federal law you can dispute the charges if you do not get what you were promised. You may also dispute unauthorized charges on your credit card.
5. Only shop on safe sites. When it is time to make a payment, the URL address should change from "http" to "https" indicating the purchase is encrypted or secured.
6. Do not fall for a phishing email or pop-ups. Legitimate companies do not send unsolicited email messages asking for your password, login name or your financial information, but scammers do.
7. Be careful when shopping for a gift in an online auction. Shoppers sometimes turn to auctions for harder-to-find collectibles or expensive electronics. Understand how the auction works, and check out the seller's reputation before you bid. Be especially wary of auctions that ask for payment via wire transfer.
8. Turn your computer off when you are finished shopping. Many people leave their computers running 24/7. This is the dream scenario for scammers who want to install malicious software on your computer to commit cyber crime.
9. Do not be tempted by offers of free money. Con artists take advantage of cash-strapped consumers during the holidays to offer personal loans or credit cards for a fee upfront. Beware of emails offering loans or credit, especially if you have credit problems.
10. Visit www.fraud.org to learn more about protecting yourself from online scams year-round and to report suspicious sites, sellers, or scams. You do not have to be a victim to report a scam, and your information will help law enforcement go after cyber grinches.
Click here for more information from the National Consumers League.