Sheriff's Office

Cyber Monday Shopping SafetyTips from the Sheriff's Office Cyber Crimes Unit

The dramatic increase in online shopping for the holidays has led to the creation of Cyber Monday on the Monday following Thanksgiving.

While cyber shoppers are hoping to find some great deals on Cyber Monday, this is also an important time for shoppers to increase their awareness of the risks associated with shopping online.

"Even when we take every precaution online, the reality is we have no control over who holds that data on the other end," Sergeant Dennis Carry of the Sheriff's Cyber Crimes Unit said.

"Great savings can often be obtained by shopping online," Sergeant Carry said, "But what happens to all that confidential data a shopper submits? What happens when a shopper selects to save their credit card information on a specific website? The reality is, a consumer has no way of knowing if that data, held in cyberspace, will be breached by a hacker."

Sergeant Carry offers the following safety tips for cyber shoppers:

  • Read your credit card statements as soon as you get them to make sure there are no unauthorized charges. If there is a discrepancy, report it immediately.
  • Always type a website address yourself or access it through trusted search engines.
  • Never click on an email link, taking you to a purchase site. The link may take you to a fraudulent site.
  • Don't allow online sites to maintain your credit card information. Although it's convenient, this is risky.
  • When having items shipped to your residence, make sure they are taken inside timely, preventing thieves from taking them or realizing nobody is home and potentially leaving yourself exposed to a burglary.
  • Always use a credit card instead of debit or check. Credit cards have an additional level of consumer protection in the event of a fraudulent purchase or disputed transactions.
  • If it just looks too good to be true, it probably is.

"Shop smart, be safe, and happy holidays," Sergeant Carry adds.