Cyber security tips for online holiday shopping

Posted at 10:43 PM, Nov 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-30 22:43:55-05

Is online holiday shopping putting your hard-earned money at risk?

Experts say "yes" if you don't know what to look out for.

Cyber Monday 2015 is on track for record breaking spending ans hundreds of thousands make online purchases, and for crooks creeping around the internet, all of those credit card numbers hitting cyber space are like a dream come true.

Many prefer Cyber Monday shopping to Black Friday shopping because it's easier, but with that ease comes greater risk of your personal information being stolen.

The National Retail Federation says 121 million people were planning to shop online on Cyber Monday.

David Seitz of Greenwire Technology Solutions said on the other side of your computer screen could be someone waiting for your personal information.

"That's the goal is to either collect information from you or to collect your literal credit card information, or install malware," he said.

So what can you do while shopping online this holiday season?

Only shop while on a secure Wifi network, like at home or at work while on a break.

"When you're on public Wifi, you're in an open forum, so anybody can see what you're sending," Seitz said.

He also suggests keeping an eye out for fake websites.

They're made to look just like the real ones for big retailers like Target or Walmart.

If you look up in the corner of the link on a webpage, it typically starts with "https."

Seitz said that "S" stands for "secure," and shows it's been checked to verify that it's the website they say they are.

If you're an avid online shopper, you know those emails from your favorite shops boasting the best deals flood your inbox.

How do you make sure the savings are legit?

"Even if you get an email with a deal in it, go to the browser bar and type it in instead of clicking the links in the emails," Seitz said.

These are tips shoppers like Bernie Exposito are taking to protect their holiday budgets.

"It's sad after you work so hard for your money, that somebody can just come in and take it," he said.

Seitz also said it's best to use third party payment sites like PayPal, Google Wallet, or Apple Pay, because they act like the middleman between you and the retailer, adding another layer of security.

He said they also will assume some responsibility for fraudulent transactions.