Black Friday may be the official start of the holiday shopping season, but those who prefer to do their shopping from the comfort of their couch may want to wait for Cyber Monday. Held on the Monday after Thanksgiving, this online shopping bonanza has grown exponentially since its origin in 2005, generating billions in sales each year — and the numbers keep growing.
Cyber Monday is a time for online shoppers to snag the hottest deals on everything from electronics and appliances to airline tickets. However, it’s also a prime time for shopping scams that could put your financial information at risk. Keep these Cyber Monday safety tips in mind to keep your finances protected and your holiday savings in check.
When does Cyber Monday start?
Cyber Monday 2018 will take place on November 26, the first Monday after Thanksgiving. It’s part of a series of deal-driven shopping days that include Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Giving Tuesday.
However, while Cyber Monday itself is typically viewed as the biggest online shopping day of the year, many retailers will actually begin promoting sales in the days prior (some as early as the beginning of November). The deals will continue throughout the holiday season, but Cyber Monday offers some of the best opportunities to save while shopping online.
How to avoid Cyber Monday scams
Are you more at risk when shopping online on Cyber Monday than on any other day? Not necessarily, but consumers may be more careless about their online shopping security when they’re being bombarded by info on major sales. The bottom line is, if you know how to avoid identify theft when shopping online, then you know how to stay safe on Cyber Monday. Follow these simple rules to protect your credit card online:
- Make sure you’re shopping on a secure site. Hackers have become skilled at impersonating well-known retail sites, so don’t assume it’s legit just because it looks that way at first glance. Double-check the URL to make sure it’s the right one, and always look for the lock icon and the word “secure” next to the website’s URL.
- Don’t shop with your debit card. Because it’s linked directly to your bank account, this could spell disaster if your information is stolen. Using a credit card instead gives you an extra layer of protection and keeps your hard-earned cash safe in your bank account.
- Shop at the source. Look out for phishing emails and pop-up ads, and be wary of using apps that promise to help you find the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. Avoid clicking on any links you don’t trust completely. The safest thing to do is go directly to the official website of the retailer where you want to shop.
- Avoid reusing passwords. While using the same password for every site is definitely the easiest move, it can get you in trouble in the event of a data breach. Once a robot or hacker has your password, it can attempt to sign in to other websites and accounts such as your email, your Facebook profile, or even your online banking account using the same information.
- Shop from a secure network, and keep your antivirus software up to date. Your connection won’t be as effective if it’s outdated. With Xfinity xFi, you get automatic security updates, which help protect your entire home network.
- Turn on two-factor authentication for your email and other mobile accounts (like social media). You may be required to receive a text message with a code to complete your login to your social media or other accounts, but this method adds an extra layer of protection to avoid password theft.
Cyber Monday is an ideal time to score some deals while knocking out your holiday shopping list, but remember to stay safe while you surf the web. You may not be elbowing through crowds of competitive shoppers at the mall, but you’ll still need to use common sense as you navigate Cyber Monday sales.