November 15, 2013
I'm usually in too much of a Thanksgiving food coma to hit the sales on Black Friday, but millions of other Americans somehow find the energy. Last year, 89 million people took advantage of Black Friday sales (57 million of them online), while an estimated 247 million shopped throughout the four-day weekend, as stores increasingly have opened their doors on Thanksgiving itself.
In addition, millions of bargain hunters spent another $2 billion on Cyber Monday, so it's clear that online holiday shopping is here to stay. Unfortunately, cyber criminals have zeroed in on this trend and are redoubling their efforts to separate shoppers from their hard-earned cash.
Whether you're shopping online by computer, smartphone or tablet, here are some common cyber scams to watch out for and security precautions to take:
Tips for buying gift cards:
Most retailers offer holiday sales as a way to boost their year-end bottom line. If you've "liked" a product or store on Facebook or Twitter, or have signed up to receive their emails, you may well get genuine offers for steep discounts or last-minute sales.
But beware of bogus offers from sites that mimic those of legitimate retailers. They could be:
Another common scam is to send an email claiming a courier is trying to deliver a package or there's a problem with your order. You'll be told to click on a link to get details and will likely be asked to reveal account or other personal information to verify. Unless you previously provided them your email address, this is probably bogus.
A few additional holiday-related security tips:
Don't let the prospect of getting a great deal on Black Friday allow you to drop your guard against scammers who would love to fill your stocking with coal.
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