MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Missed out on Black Friday deals? Cyber Monday is one day away, and it’s your chance to shop right from the comfort of your home or right from your phone.
But with the easy access to online sales, it makes it that much easier for the possibility of becoming hacked.
Myrtle Beach Police Cpl. Tom Vest said if you’re exploring online and become suspicious, you should report it.
“If you think there’s a scam or you think someone has taken your information, obviously report it to us but you can also report it to the FTC on their website," Vest said.
On the Federal Trade Commission website, you can report several occurrences like rip-offs and imposter scams, to internet services, online shopping or computers.
If you’ve experience something you want to report from online shopping, you can select the tab for online shopping.
It highlights what exactly happened to you whether it be receiving your items late or a company offering to manage your online reputation or censor negative online reviews for a fee.
They’ll also ask you if you lost money and the name of the bad website.
And when it comes to what to look out for when shopping, police said if the link is broken, or you click somewhere and it takes you to an unfamiliar site, report it.
“One of the best things you can do when shopping online is using well-known websites,” Vest said.
Cyber security experts said when you’re shopping, do it from a trusted computer and not a public one. Also, verify the URL begins with https not http, the “s” means the site is secure.
While shopping online you also have the option to pay with debit cards, credit cards, store credit and gift cards but Vest also said the best way to protect yourself while shopping online is avoiding the use of gift cards if you don’t have one to the store you are using it for.
The Federal Trade Commission said gift cards are like cash and if someone requests you pay with a gift card, more than likely it’s a scam.
The reason police suggest not using them online is because they have no way to track it or keep a record like you can with a credit card. They said this doesn’t apply for those who have a gift card to the website or store.
For example, if you have an iTunes gift card, they aren’t concerned about using it for the iTunes Store. But if you’re buying an item like a used phone and someone says to pay using a gift card, that’s a red flag.
Vest said they’ve seen an increase in people reporting crimes like these and he said if this happens to you, report it too. Reporting scams to your credit card company allows local law enforcement to track violators.