Cyber Monday is Here!

Cyber Monday

Today…Cyber Monday…could be the biggest shopping day IN HISTORY.  And it could also be a HUGE opportunity for SCAMMERS.

This years Cyber Monday is marking a couple of thresholds in the world of online shopping.  As more and more holiday purchases move online the bad guys are around cyberspace just like the mall parking lot.   While the criminals at the mall might break into your car, the online ones aren’t as obvious.

What are the dangers of Cyber Monday?

There are many things that the bad guys might exploit; for example, putting up fake store fronts, adds, and other promotions.  Unlike the physical mall where you know a store is real it’s possible to have a fake store or fake advertisements online that are very different than what they appear to be.

It is very important to make sure that advertisements go to the genuine sites.   One way to ensure this is to enter the site name into your browser’s address bar instead of clicking on an advertisement.  When you go to a valid retailers’ website, enter “https:” in front of the site name (ex: https://www.amazon.com) and the browser bar will turn green if the site it legitimate.

Cyber Monday Bad Guys

Cyber criminals are constantly inventing new ways to fool shoppers.  In addition to fake online store fronts another problem is with fake products.  An example of this is an add on Facebook advertising a product like the Nintendo Classic retro gaming system that has been sold out for quite some time.  They even use a picture of the genuine Nintendo product.  What they sell is a knock-off version.  It doesn’t contain or do the quality content of the genuine article.  If you try to contact the company to return it or get help it is very difficult to do so.

How would you be able to recognize a questionable product?  The best way is to read the comments and see what others have found.  The problem with this?  It takes time to do that research.  Cyber Criminals depend on the frenzy of holiday shopping in many ways to be successful.  Even though we are all very busy this time of year, that extra few minutes could save you getting ripped off.

Another common ploy is to use what are called “shortened URL’s” to try an imitate a genuine retailer.  To verify one of these shortened URL’s visit the website “CheckShortURL.com”.  This is a free service in which you will be able to see where the shortened URL really goes.  If it’s not the actual company, don’t use it.

Cyber Monday Retailers

When buying online it is also important to be critical of retailers you have never heard of before.  While there are many legit small businesses selling online there are also the bad guys.  When dealing with some of these retailers consider using a service like PayPal for making your payment.  This is offered by most legit retailers, large and small.  PayPal and services like that offer buyer protection against fraudulent orders as well as damage and other things that you may face ordering online.

William (Bill) Sikkens has been a technology expert for KXL on the Morning Show with Steve and Rebecca since 2014. With an expertise in I.T., cyber security and software design he has had more than 20 years’ experience with advanced technology. Sikkens conceptualizes and designs custom applications for many professional industries from health care to banking and has the ability to explain the details in a way all can understand.

Got a technology question or comment for Bill? Follow him on Twitter @sikkensw

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