10 vital Cyber Monday security tips to shop safely and avoid scams online

CLEVELAND - Cyber Monday is upon us and shoppers are expected to spend more than $1.5 billion on the popular online shopping day.

With online shopping reaching a zenith, it is important to be aware of scams and cyber-thieves.

ECoupons.com offers the following ten shopping security tips as you take advantage of Cyber Monday deals.

1) If you have an iPhone, iPad or Mac, download and enable Apple's free Find My Phone app.  You can locate your device on a map, remotely lock it with a passcode and erase all the content and settings. Apple released this app because of the high incidents of thefts for its popular devices

2) Browse but don't shop online from an open Wifi network. The owner or anyone connected to the network can "sniff" or read all the information traveling through the air. If you do access an open network, make sure you access websites with "https:", this means the connection between you and the website is secure or VPN to your own network.

3) Be careful of your friends' "Likes" on Facebook. Facebook does a good job of filtering viruses and scams but beware of your friends "Liked" pages touting a free iPhone, HDTV, laptop or diet. Most likely, their account has been hacked.

4) When installing a new app, make sure you're comfortable with the information it is asking to access. i.e. address book, location data, usage, etc. This information is great for marketers and hackers alike.

5) Beware of suspicious emails from "UPS," "FedEx," "eBay," etc. Because so many people are shopping online, hackers send "notification" emails from popular companies asking for credit card information. If the email looks suspicious (i.e. you never ordered anything), never click on the links and visit the website directly.

6) Buying a new computer and throwing out the old one? Always make sure to securely format the old hard drive to wipe out personal information before recycling.

7) Never email personal financial information. Email is insecure and e-Commerce companies will never ask you to do this.  When in doubt, call the company directly.

8) When buying on eBay, always check the seller's history and reputation. Sometimes auctions are too good to be true.

9) When searching in Google, MSN, or Yahoo, don't click on Sponsored Ads that start with a retailer name followed by a space and then COM with a different URL below it.  These sponsored ads are typically scams to bring you to another website instead of the one you're really looking for.

10) Always pay by credit card and never a debit card. You can always dispute a charge with a credit card but once money leaves your account from a debit card, it's gone and will not automatically be returned in case of fraudulent activity.

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