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Stay safe on Cyber Monday and beyond

Posted at 10:24 AM, Nov 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-29 11:27:39-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, an estimated $29 billion will be spent online this year.

But crooks don't stop for Christmas. While you're on the hunt for a deal this Cyber Monday, they're on the prowl for your information.

With the help of technology expert Burton Kelso, we've compiled some quick tips to keep you safe while shopping online.

Double (and triple) check the website

"Make sure the lock sign is up in the upper corner," Kelso said.

That shows it's a secure site. You should also keep an eye on the URL.

"Check the spelling of the websites you're visiting so you don't accidentally go to a hacked website," he said.

Don't save your payment information on a site

You've probably heard of credit card skimming, a common occurrence at gas stations and public ATMs.

But did you know it can happen to you online?

Hackers hit the website for Macy's last month.

"If you've got your information saved to a website, there's really no way for you to know if someone's skimming your information," Kelso said.

The solution? Don't save your information on any site. If possible, use Google Pay, Apple Pay or PayPal.

Watch out for phishing via email and text

"One of the big threats people have to worry about during the holiday season are spam emails or phishing emails," Kelso said.

You get an email from a company you know and trust, like Netflix. This is a real world example from the Federal Trade Commission:

The message may say your account is on hold until you update payment details. If you look closer, you'll see it's addressed to "dear," not an actual person.

Around the holidays, you may get similar emails or even texts claiming to be from FedEx, UPS or the U.S. Postal Service. They lure you with alerts about a package that's on its way.

"I think in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, if you're ordering packages online from different online and brick and mortar stores, you can get easily confused which package is coming from where," Kelso said.

Don't click on any links. Instead, call the company to verify or log into your account to see what presents are actually en route.