Shop safe on Cyber Monday

Consumer Alert

POSTED: Monday, November 26, 2012 - 6:30pm

UPDATED: Monday, November 26, 2012 - 7:18pm

Thousands of holiday shoppers are expected to hit the Internet this Cyber Monday.

"I saved $30 on a pair of jeans so that was exciting," Emily Guidry, cyber shopper, said. "I saw advertisements for all the deals. I didn't want to wait in line at Wal-Mart or anything like that."

Consumer advocates warn it's also a time criminals try to trick these shoppers into giving them their personal information. Experts say there are things you can to do keep yourself safe online.

The Better Business Bureau says holiday shoppers like Guidry have to watch out for criminals who use Cyber Monday to make a profit from buyer's information.

Experts say there are two easy ways to make sure a site is secure. First check for "https" at the start of the site address. Then, look for a locked pad lock on the right hand corner before you give your credit information.

Jim Stalls with the BBB says start a paper trail. Print out a description of the item you plan to purchase to make sure you get what you're paying for.

"You have proof of what you've done. Proof that you gave the credit card," Stalls said. "This is the amount that was supposed to be charged, so you've got something to defend yourself."

Update your internet browser and virus protection on your computer or smart phone. Stalls says criminals use holes in older versions of these programs to compromise your technology.

Do your homework, read up on the site's privacy policy and make sure you understand it.

"They have to describe what they are going to do with your information," Stalls explained. "How long are they going to keep your information. How is that information stored."

If a website shows a BBB logo make sure to click on the image. A company accredited by the BBB will be linked to a report detailing the BBB's accreditation.

And while being safe is important to her as well, Guidry says if you're going to get the Cyber Monday deals, you'll have to hurry.

"Do it quick and make sure you know what you are going to buy, because that stuff is rolling like hot cakes," Guidry said.

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