There's one day of the year that savvy holiday shoppers look forward to: Cyber Monday. The day is a boon for online deal hunters, but also for scammers. That's partly because the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, starting with Black Friday, is one of the busiest times within the most hectic shopping season of the year. In 2020, 186.4 million consumers shopped that holiday weekend, according to data from the National Retail Federation. And a growing share of that shopping is happening online. Online shoppers may get distracted — by holiday shopping lists, gatherings, and the bustle of the season. And cybercriminals know it's easier to trick someone who's got their mind on other things.
And you can add another Cyber Monday 2021 shopping risk: The shortage of some hot items due to supply and shipping bottlenecks around the globe. It is likely scammers will try to target shoppers looking for those hard-to-find gifts. The risk? You might click to buy before checking to see if the “deal” is legitimate.
But you may be able to avoid having your holiday fun spoiled by an identity thief or financial fraudster if you take a few simple steps to help you shop safely online. As you make your online purchases, stay vigilant by following these simple safety tips.
1. Do your holiday shopping with reputable retailers.
Once you've made your holiday shopping list and checked to see who's been naughty or nice, decide where to shop. Stick with retailers you know and trust. Bookmark their sites to go there directly rather than clicking on offers in ads, emails, or text messages. That will keep you safe from fraudsters who create realistic looking fake stores designed to look just like the sites of trusted retailers. Shopping only with reliable retailers also may help you avoid other hassles, such as shipping delays and knockoff or poor-quality products.
2. Only shop on secure sites on Cyber Monday.
If you're sticking with well-known retailers, their sites should be secure. But if you're shopping at smaller or independent shops, look for a little lock icon in the top left corner of your browser bar when you're on the site. A secure site's URL should start with HTTPS and not HTTP. You might have to click on the URL to see the HTTPS. Secure sites use SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption to keep data in transit hidden from hackers. If the site is secure, it's OK to enter your payment information and order your items.
Source: Norton Online Security