Don’t get hacked this holiday season

FILE - In this Monday, Nov. 29, 2010, file photo, a consumer looks at Cyber Monday sales on her computer at her home in Palo Alto, Calif.  Online sales growth so far this holiday season is surpassing growth in sales at physical stores, according to First Data, which analyzed online and in-store payments from Oct. 31 through Monday, Dec. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)
FILE - In this Monday, Nov. 29, 2010, file photo, a consumer looks at Cyber Monday sales on her computer at her home in Palo Alto, Calif. Online sales growth so far this holiday season is surpassing growth in sales at physical stores, according to First Data, which analyzed online and in-store payments from Oct. 31 through Monday, Dec. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – While online shopping is spiking this holiday season, there is also an increase in cyber crime this time of year.

There are a few things consumers can do to protect themselves on Cyber Monday.

It’s all about the timing: getting things into your cart and clicking “buy” before the best deals are gone. However, you need to know what you’re clicking on and if websites are secure.

Frank Frassetto, administrator of the Wisconsin Department of Consumer Protection, says it’s important to keep your apps up-to-date, and be careful of fake websites.

He said, “You may have missed a letter on the keyboard, or your finger may have gone between two letters so you have a couple of different letters, and it’ll direct you to a site that says, ‘Did you really mean this? Or did you mean this?’ And if you aren’t thinking about it and you just click on something, that could end up redirecting you then to a site that is now going to be taking you down to that rabbit hole with the ultimate end of trying to get your personal and financial information.”

When you are shopping online, double-check that you’re on a secure link. The web address should begin with “https.” Look for the “s,” meaning secure. Also look for the padlock (to the left of “https”) before you click “buy” and before you enter any of your credit card information. That means it’s secure.

If you use a credit card, federal law gives you the right to dispute charges if you report them to the credit card company within 60 days of getting your statement. Keep a paper trail, follow-up and go online to check out your credit card activity.

We want you to be a safe, smart shopper, and we don’t want you to get hacked this holiday.

Also be careful of all the email and text deals and coupons. Sometimes, those are phishers trying to get you to click on links that are trying to steal your personal information.

The Wisconsin Department of Consumer Protection has these additional tips:

  • Update your device’s operating system and antivirus software before you start shopping.
  • Make sure a website is legitimate before ordering. Check for the company’s name, physical location and contact information. Remember that identity thieves can create websites that mimic a legitimate company’s site, so don’t trust a site based solely on its appearance.
  • Avoid social media posts or emails that appear to offer free vouchers or gift cards – they often lead to online surveys designed to steal personal information.
  • When purchasing gift cards online, be leery of auction sites selling discounted or bulk gift cards – you may end up with cards that have been tampered with, have been used or that are expired.
  • Pay by prepaid debit card or credit card. With a prepaid debit card, potential losses are limited to the amount of money loaded on the card.

We welcome comments and civil discussions.

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