How to protect yourself from hackers this Cyber Monday

How to protect yourself from hackers this Cyber Monday

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – While shoppers are getting ready to save big for Cyber Monday, it's important to remember to be on the lookout for hackers on the world wide web, according to CEO of the Better Business Bureau of the Coastal Carolinas, John D'Ambrosio.

Shoppers should be aware of public WiFi networks. D'Ambrosio said if you sign into a public WiFi network, it might not be secure and you could risk the chance of your credit card or debit card information being stolen if you enter it and make a purchase.

It is important to check the website URL's as well. One way to tell if the website you are at is secure is to check for the "https." The letter "s" stands for secure and encrypted, according to D'Ambrosio.

You shouldn't click links you don't recognize. Instead, go directly to the website yourself and make the purchase that way.

"Anybody can look like anything on the internet. It doesn't take much to look like IBM in terms of the internet and that's why so many people are susceptible to being cheated," said D’Ambrosio.

It's also important to be aware of gift basket scams. D'Ambrosio said typically, someone who is victim to a gift basket scam will likely get an email telling them they will be receiving a gift basket, and to make sure they will be home to accept the delivery. Then, D'Ambrosio said the gift basket will come and contain things like wine, and the person delivering it will say because there is wine in the basket, they need to collect a $2 delivery fee in the form of credit card only, and steal information that way.

D'Ambrosio also recommends not providing personal information to anyone that doesn't need to have it. On the topic of free coupons, D'Ambrosio said in some cases free coupons come with personal information, potentially meaning it could be a scam as well.

Before you start adding gifts to your cart at big name retailer websites, D'Ambrosio said you can still save big online and stay local.

Check your local businesses first to see if they have what you need at the price you want to pay before checking the larger scale websites. D'Ambrosio said this can help our area's economy while you still benefit from a great deal.

"It helps to create jobs locally, if you can find it, and I'm sure you can find almost anything along the Grand Strand, that you don’t have to go away from the Grand Strand to do your shopping,” he said.

Last year, $3.45 billion was generated in sales on Cyber Monday according to D'Ambrosio, 47 percent of those sales coming from mobile devices.

If you are victim to a scam or have consumer questions, D'Ambrosio said to contact the Better Business Bureau for your area.

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