Shopping Cyber Monday sales? Tips to protect yourself from online criminals

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Consumers are expected to spend more than $6.5 billion on Cyber Monday.

With all that money exchanging hands, you can be sure criminals will be searching for victims.

One of the first things you can do to ensure you don’t run into any problems is to stick with proven websites, like Amazon, Walmart, and Target.

“We always tell people when you’re shopping online, it is best to know and trust someone that you are shopping with,” said Jason Kama, director of marketing for the Hawaii Better Business Bureau, “so whether you have had good results with it, or are familiar with them through like Amazon, or Walmart, one of the big box stores.”

If you haven’t dove into the online shopping experience, you are in the minority.

“Fifty-nine percent of consumers are planning on shopping online versus going into an actual location,” Kama said.

Some other critical advice to make sure your personal information stays just that way: know the advertiser.

It’s okay to verify using the Better Business Bureau to check if a business is legitimate.

Shop with a credit card. They’re much safer than debit cards and easier to fight random charges.

Last but not least, look for the letters “https.”

“It’s called an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate, but it is basically a secure website, and you will notice it when it says https that is a secure site,” Kama said. “What that means is less of a chance for information to be leaked on the internet when you shop using a site like that.”

While using your phone may be convenient, it’s best to give the website an extra look.

“One thing that is a little risky when you use a mobile devices is that you can’t always see the browser bar when you are on the mobile, so you won’t be able to see as easily if it is secure or not,” Kama said.

If you have a consumer concern or are interested in becoming an Action Line volunteer, give us a call at 591-0222 weekdays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. or send an email to actionline@khon2.com.

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