Analysts warn Cyber Monday shoppers about online scammers

Analysts warn Cyber Monday shoppers about online scammers

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Analysts predict 127 million people took advantage of Cyber Monday, which is down from last year's 131 million shoppers, but consumers should be advised that among those shoppers are some scammers as well.

"They know it's Cyber Monday," said Michael Kaiser with the National Cybersecurity Alliance. "They know that people are out there shopping and they're going to do what they can to try and lure you in."

Scam artists send out bogus emails promising great deals from big name retailers, but as the saying goes, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." Those fake emails can contain a link sending you to a fake website.

"That is a site that looks like it's valid, but it is in fact a cover for a clandestine and illegal operation a.k.a. somebody who wants to steal your credit card information and defraud you," said CNET Senior Editor Jessica Dolcourt.

Big name stores have already been targeted, with millions of people's information breached. Luis Velez with the Baton Rouge Secret Service said it's up to each and every individual to protect themselves and it starts with making sure the site you're on is legitimate. Start by putting the business name in a search engine, like Google or Yahoo.

"As you notice, several things will pop up," Velez said. "There's one legitimate in there that the organization owns that. That's the one you should utilize. It'll be two or three that look like it."

When you're going to put your credit card information in, look for a lock in the address bar and watch out for emails from scammers.

"Several days later, usually, most companies will not email you to verify the purchase. This is where a lot of people get caught. They'll get an email saying we need to verify your purchase. Please input your information. Some of that could be phishing," Velez added.

If you still have some more shopping to do, you are urged to use a credit card over a debit card and if you can, try to open a separate credit card that's meant to be used only for online shopping.

Some other tips include:

Never make purchases through a public or free WIFI connection

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