Today is Cyber Monday. Personally, I like to call it “Cyber crime Monday”. That is because employees all over the world will be flooding the internet purchasing goods from millions of sites, and passing along their name, address, credit card numbers, and more.

I hate to put a negative spin on something that is very good for retailers and our overall economy. Cyber Monday is actually a good thing and is very much needed for business all over the world. The problem lies withing the shoppers. Are they safe? Is their computer safe? Do they have security? Antivirus? Antispyware? Where are they shopping from? If they are shopping from a corporate network, or a medical practice network, are you protected enough that you can go to an unknown website and enter sensitive information? Can something be uploaded to your computer? Let’s remember, corporate networks and medical practices have sensitive information in the form of employee SSN’s, patient health information, Doctor’s info (ripe for identity theft) and other information you don’t want to get into the hands of the hackers.

What to do on Cyber Monday

First off, shop from home. Don’t involve your employers network. Even if it is your lunchtime, you only want to shop from your own personal computer at home. Second, shop from reputable sites. Amazon, Apple, Macy’s etc. You want to be sure that the website is secure when making purchases. An easy way to tell is to make sure the URL, or address starts with an HTTPS (the “S” is for secure). You will also see a small lock on the bottom right hand corner of your web browser.

Things to be aware of

The first thing to be careful of are phishing schemes. This is where you may receive an email that looks like a very credible retailer. Once you click on that email, you will be on a hacker or criminal site inputting your information. These sites look real, right down to the logo on the page. It is almost a mirror image of the real one. Be VERY careful when going to websites directly through your email.

Be aware of people asking you to wire money. Any decent retailer will accept credit cards. There should never be a reason to wire money to anyone.

Lastly, Be vigilant of fake items. If you want a Coach purse, buy it from Coach. You want a Rolex, buy it from a jeweler. Places like eBay, Craig’s List or other community sites have no guarantee that what you are purchasing is authentic. It can look real, but we all know that the fakes are becoming more and more real looking.

Enjoy your cyber Monday. And happy shopping!!