NORMAN — As Americans return to the workplace Monday after the long holiday weekend, many will spend a portion of the day surfing the Internet for deals from online retailers. “Cyber Monday” is what the retail industry calls one of, if not the, busiest Internet shopping days of the year, and with more and more consumers opting to avoid the mall, e-shopping is expected to be higher than ever. Spending on Cyber Monday is expected to be in the billions of dollars.
Whether consumers do their shopping online at the workplace or at home, shoppers should protect themselves by practicing safe e-shopping habits.
“The Internet can make your shopping faster and easier, but there can also be pitfalls if you're not careful,” said Sally Greenberg, executive director of the National Consumers League. “There are ways to ensure you have a safe online shopping experience, so that gift-giving is a joyous occasion, not an opportunity for cyber thieves.”
The National Consumers League offers the following top ten tips for avoiding cyber grinches and scams this holiday season.
1. Don’t shop online on an unencrypted or open wireless network. As convenient as they seem, an airport or coffee shop’s wireless network is not an appropriate place to conduct financial transactions. Entering personal financial information over an unsecured connection may leave your computer open the to hackers and thieves to capture your financial information. Home Wi-Fi networks can also be compromised, so consumers should find out how to secure their connections.
2. Secure your computer before shopping online. Before connecting to the Internet or shopping online, take the following three core protections: Install anti-virus and anti-spyware programs and keep them up to date, install a personal firewall and regularly update operating system and anti-virus programs to current protections.