Shop Smart: Tips to avoid Cyber Monday scams, identity theft

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Many people are ready to ditch the long Black Friday lines to shop online. While it may be a quick and convenient way to shop, there are risks involved.

Jeff Lanza, a local cyber security expert, said computer users should always look for the signs of security. When making a purchase, look for the HTTPS in the URL and the padlock icon in the browser status bar.

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That will indicate the page in secure. If possible, always use a secure online payment service such as Pay Pal. Also, try to only designate one credit card for online transactions.

"If you use debit cards online, make sure you're always checking your account on a regular basis. If someone gets your debit card number they can drain your bank account completely dry even without a pin number."

Lanza said people should always be strict about passwords. Always use different passwords for each site. Don't allow browsers to store passwords. Also, be cautious about emails claiming to ship confirmation or package alerts that force you to open a file attachment. Delete any messages that claim to provide tracking information but don't include a tracking number. Only track the package through the retailer's website.

Cyber security experts say one of the biggest online problems is search engine optimization poisoning. Lanza said scammers take advantage of what is often searched on the Internet like the phrase 'Cyber Monday Deals.' False links can come up in the search results.

"They're trying to infect your computer and put some malware on your computer so that when you go to your bank account to log in, it will steal your key strokes and that's of course much more serious than you sending money to someone and getting ripped off," said Lanza.

Keep these tips in mind before your search for the next online deal.

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