Cyber Monday is here! If you avoided the retail stores and skipped their Black Friday deals, don't worry, you'll get another chance for major savings today. From clothing to travel to exclusive online-only deals, Cyber Monday still has tons to offer.
But just in time for the Cyber Monday shopping rush, watch out for sinister phishing scams that are making the rounds.
With more online shoppers this time around - searching every nook and cranny of the web in search of the best Cyber Monday deals - crooks are again looking to dupe unsuspecting bargain hunters.
Stop and Think, Did I order this?
One of the most effective tools for a cybercriminal is the phishing scam. This is when a scammer poses as a trustworthy entity and tries tricking you into clicking on a malicious link.
Their ultimate goal, of course, is to steal your sensitive information such as credit card details, usernames and passwords.
With this year's holiday online shopping numbers projected to be the biggest ever, millions of items will be processed and shipped.
With this surge in shipping activity, consumer protection groups are warning everyone to watch out for fake delivery notices and package verification scams.
For example, if you receive an email from "Amazon" saying that you have a pending delivery that needs verification from you, then that is most likely a phishing scam.
Other email phishing scams may also pretend to provide you with a link for shipping updates or special discount coupons and offers.
Another popular ploy is the phantom order scam. These alarming emails are meant to get you clicking by pretending you ordered thousands of dollars of merchandise.
But before you click that link, look out, these deceitful messages can be extremely convincing.
Fake delivery and shipping notifications can look just like the real thing, using real logos and art from company websites.
These cybercriminals will even set up fake websites that look like the real deal to lure you into giving away your personal information and credit card details.
Protect yourself from Cyber Monday scams
Avoiding these scams is simple enough - don't get blinded by all the Cyber Monday razzle-dazzle and please use a bit of common sense when you're confronted by an unexpected email.
Be careful of this common scam
If you receive a shipping notification email, never follow its links. It's better to go directly to your retailer or shipping company's website and app then type in the tracking information yourself.
For coupons and special deals, again it's better if you check the retailer's website directly and find the discount that way. If it's an exclusive deal sent via email, triple check the URL you've clicked through and make sure the link actually goes where it says it goes.
Don't just click
If you're using Google search to look for a deal on a particular item, be careful! Scammers can also manipulate search results and have their malicious websites show up on the results. Digging deep on the web for bargains can be fun, but it's filled with traps and false leads, too.
Pay the right way
Another effective way to minimize the potential damage wrought by internet shopping scams is to use a credit card instead of debit for all your online transactions. This way, if you do get scammed, you can always the dispute the charges. Assign one of your credit cards for all your online shopping needs then stick with the plan.
Here are the deals, listen now
Listen to Kim talk about the best deals awaiting you on Cyber Monday. Tap or click below to listen to Komando on Demand.
3 Cyber Monday scams that are spreading
Criminals and scammers use anything they can think of to trick you and steal from you, even on the holidays. Criminals love using the urgency of Cyber Monday savings to drive their own scams. It's all too easy to get swept up, click the wrong thing and get yourself in a heap of trouble.