By John Breyault, Vice President of Public Policy, Telecommunications and Fraud As Americans return to work after a long Thanksgiving holiday weekend, millions will log on to the Internet is search of deals to help fill the stockings of friends and family members. “Cyber Monday” – the Monday after Thanksgiving – has become an annual tradition for online retailers eager to snap up sales. A casual review of some of the more popular online stores will show a plethora of discounts, free shipping offers, and other come-ons to lure e-shoppers. According to Information Systems Audit and Control Association, a non-profit IT professionals group, employees will spend 14.4 hours shopping from their desks this holiday season. For both consumers and their employers, it’s important to follow some “rules of the road” when it comes to shopping online – on Cyber Monday or any other time. That’s why NCL released ten tips to help consumers shop safely online this holiday season. In addition to those ten tips, here are some extra precautions to keep in mind when shopping online:
- Be doubly careful with using mobile phones for online shopping. A desktop computer’s browser may be more secure that a mobile phone’s browser.
- Don’t use the same login/password combination for each online shopping site. Many sites require users to create an account before products can be purchased. Don’t use the same login and password for each site. This will prevent hackers who have compromised your information for one site from using the same information to make purchases at a different site.
- Be wary of ads that appear on search engine results or in social networking sites. There is no guarantee that you’ll be sent to the site you think you’re getting. See www.stopscads.org for more information.
- Even if you’re shopping online, keep in mind growing holiday debt. The Consumer Federation of America recently offered some great tips for keeping holiday debt under control. Not only is this good advice financially, but consumers in trouble because of debt are also more likely to fall victim to scammers offering a way out of debt.
- If you’ve been scammed, report it. The only way that scam websites will be put out of commission is if consumers raise the alarm. File complaints with your local Better Business Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission, your state Attorney General’s office, or www.fraud.org.