Cyber Monday: How to stay safe from hackers while shopping online

In this photo illustration, an ad seen on the JCPenney website for a Cyber Monday sale is displayed on laptop computers on November 27, 2017 in San Anselmo, California. Cyber Monday will likely be the biggest shopping day in U.S. e-commerce history w

Cyber Monday is here and online hackers are waiting in the dark corners of the internet, hoping to catch you in their online trap.

However, there are a number of ways you can beat them at their own game and protect your personal information.

"Cybercriminals have historically viewed holidays as attractive times to strike," the FBI tweeted on Sunday. They are not the only ones sounding the alarm either.

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Local cyber expert Tom Jelneck said to think before you click this holiday season and avoid becoming a victim. He encourages consumers to watch out for ads and emails encouraging them to click on links specifically.

"There are fake websites and they take your credit card," Jelneck explained. "My biggest tip: slow down and be aware of your surroundings and make certain everything checks out."

Chief Information Security Officer Michael Watson has an important reminder too, stating "make sure you are being continually vigilant."

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Watson added, "when a mistake does happen, don’t be afraid to ask about it. It happens all the time and even if you’re wrong and it happens to be a real transaction, it’s okay. Report it, talk to somebody about it."

Here are several safety tips to use this Cyber Monday:

  • Use a credit card: This will offer more financial protection to consumers than using a debit card.
  • Keep an eye on your accounts: Keep close tabs on your bank and credit card statements this time of year.
  • Always use secure WIFI: Free public WIFI opens up smartphone users to scammers.

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