FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) —Thousands of sales are taking place right now on this Cyber Monday. With so many people purchasing products online, it’s important to stay hyper-aware.
Online shopping has grown in popularity during the health crisis and Monday even more people will be shopping online but there are ways to protect yourself from falling victim to scams.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, Kevin Metcalf said cybercriminals are going to be working extremely hard to steal your personal information.
His advice — do not connect to public Wi-Fi to do your shopping for security purposes.
If you’re using your laptop or other devices outside of the home to shop, make sure you are in a private space and no one is looking over your shoulder.
Metcalf said cybercriminals set up fake sites that look similar to real retail sites, and the web address can be one letter off from the real one. So make sure you’re on a secure page before putting in your sensitive information.
Metcalf also recommends using credit cards over debit cards because of the added security. Also, with your bank account, you run the risk of your entire account being wiped out and it could take weeks before you can get your money back.
Once your account is compromised you want to report it to law enforcement and to your bank or credit card company. Make sure the card is canceled.
Also, if a deal looks too good to be true, more than likely, it is.
“If you’re going to go fishing or you’re hunting, you’re going to go the day you have the biggest chances of someone messing up. So this is an event that a lot of cybercriminals are going to be ready for. It’s a numbers game so they’re going to be out fishing for victims,” said Metcalf.
He recommends instead of clicking on links sent to you via text message, social media or emails go to the site directly.
He also stresses the importance of password hygiene saying that each account should have a different, unique and strong password.
Metcalf suggests monitoring your accounts after big shopping days for any unfamiliar activity or charges.
Online scams are not the only thing shoppers need to worry about. Metcalf said once your orders are in, keep an eye out for those delivery dates.
“It all comes down to awareness. I think we need to slow this down a bit and just think through the process. If you have packages that are coming then you know when to expect them. If you’re not going to be home make sure to check with a neighbor. Check with somebody who can get that.”
Metcalf said packages can be snatched right from your front door and that sort of activity only increases during the holiday season when more items are being ordered online.
If you can, try to have your packages delivered during a time when someone is home and it’s also not a bad idea to invest in some sort of surveillance camera.