Tips to stay safe while shopping for deals online

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Heading into Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the rest of the holiday shopping season, security experts are warning there are more scams than ever before waiting on the internet. 

“When you’re looking at your emails and you’re looking to click links, be very careful of what you’re doing. Be very vigilant about what you’re doing. There is an amazing amount of data out there available for individuals, and attacks are becoming more and more targeted, and designed specifically for you,” said Cisco Threat Researcher Nick Biasini.

Biaini’s best advice: “A healthy dose of skepticism is good.”

He says it’s best to stick to big box sites that are known to be reputable.

Biasini also recommends shopping with a phone or tablet, rather than a laptop or desktop.

“That’s just because those device manufacturers are getting better and better at securing those devices,” he said, adding that it’s important to make sure your phone or tablet stays current on security updates. “The most important thing users can do is find out where it is for your respective device, and check back often. Once a month, once a week, however often you feel is relevant.”

Biasini also recommends staying away from any random app downloads on the internet. He says it’s best to always download directly from a trusted app store. 

“You’ll see things like apps and games that normally cost $10-15 being free, and there’s usually a reason why they’re free,” he said. “They usually add something a little bit extra.”

Even after taking those precautions, Biasini says limiting how much you enter your credit card number online is also a good idea.

“If you can use some of the mobile play platforms that are out there now, like Apple Pay or Android Pay and Samsung Pay and all these other ones, they’re increasingly taking the credit card data out of it, so you’re basically communicating and making purchases without ever actually giving the company your credit card number,” he said.

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