Consumer Alert: While you’re shopping on Cyber Monday, scammers are trying to take your money

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – ‘Tis the season for scammers to try and take your money.  While online scammers are busy all year, experts tell us there’s a disturbing increase in fraud during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. There are so many thieves out there because they know there will be so many shoppers. The National Retail Federation predicts that 63.9 million people will let their fingers do the walking in their hunt for holiday gifts during Cyber Monday.

There are three primary ways thieves target us – fake websites, third party sellers on legitimate websites, and social media.

Let’s talk about social media first. Thieves will target you either by sending you a link by private message, posting ads that take you to a fake website, or actually selling fake products from shops on Facebook and Instagram.

Here’s what can happen. You click on a link which takes you to a fake website that takes your money but you get nothing; it takes your money and you get a fake, or clicking the link infects your device with spyware or malware.

I interviewed the CEO of Brandshield, a company that pays to find the fakes and notify the companies selling the real product.

“What we see around this season, Black Friday and Cyber Monday is a huge increase in online fraud, impersonation, and counterfeit, for brands that are more popular, or even less popular or known, that is done by all kind of scammers,” said Keren.

So here’s Deanna’s Do List for protecting your money while shopping online:

  • Always use a credit card, not your debit card.  Your credit card has protections against fraud that you debit card does not.
  • Watch out for third party sellers on marketplaces like Amazon and Walmart.
  • Download Fakespot or Reviewmeta.  Both help to spot the fake reviews so you can know whether a third party seller is legitimate.
  • Use the Who is Database before buying from an unfamiliar site.  It tells you when the site was registered.  If it’s a new website, it’s possibly thief.
  • Then look for the padlock, return policy and misspelled words.  No padlock or return policy and misspelled words are all big red flags.

Lastly, before you buy, check price comparison website like Google Shopping to make sure you’re getting the best price available.