How to stay cyber-safe when shopping online - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

How to stay cyber-safe when shopping online

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KENNEWICK, WA - It's Cyber Monday, and millions of people are shopping for big deals via the internet.

According to the National Retail Federation, more than 122 million consumers shopped online today, up a million from last year.

But with all the internet retailers out there, how can you make sure you're safe when shopping online?

Reporter Rex Carlin learned more about how to stay cyber-safe this holiday season. Online shopping during the holidays is becoming just as much of a tradition as setting up the Christmas tree in the living room or baking cookies with the family, and for some people it has become a necessity when the holiday season comes around.

"I don't have to deal with the crowds or the chaos," says Larisha Campbell, a mother of two. "I get to sit in the comfort of my home in my pajamas and do all of my shopping."

But as technological advancements increase at a rapid pace, so do the advancements of scammers who use this time of year as the prime season to take advantage of unaware shoppers.

When we hear about online scams, we usually think about senior citizens being the most frequently targeted demographic for scammers...but the Better Business Bureau's Aly Schmidt says a different group of people is actually handing over the most money.

"A lot of younger shoppers think, 'Oh, that's not going to happen to me, I know how to use the internet better than most of my family members, I know what I'm doing'," Schmidt said. "In reality, they might be the ones overlooking some major red flags."

Schmidt says there are a couple easy steps you can take to make sure you are shopping on a legitimate site, including only giving out billing and shipping information and nothing else.

She says you should also check to make sure the payment area of a website is secured.

"Taking a look at the URL to see if HTTPS is showing when you're at the payment stage or any time you're giving out information. That just kind of shows that it's a secure site, that it's encrypted, and it makes sure that you know your information is going to be safe to enter with your credit card."

Another safeguard you can take is to use a separate credit card for online shopping, just in case hackers do get your information.

That way, the rest of your credit line and bank accounts will still be safe.

Even widely-known national stores can have internal data breaches, so there really isn't a foolproof way to shop online. There are always going to be risks associated with giving out your credit card information, just be sure to take the necessary precautions.

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