The start to the Holiday shopping season is expected to be a busy one. The National Retail Federation predicts 164 million consumers will do some shopping, over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend. More than half of those people are expected to spend their money online.
The crooks will follow the money and there are some precautions you can take, to avoid falling victim to cyber-crime.
Before you buy a thing, make sure your connection to the 'net is secure.
Free wi-fi is a nice benefit, often provided by retailers, but it's a perfect portal for cyber crooks to catch your personal information
Instead, use the secure wireless connection that your own phone provides.
Internet security expert Beth Guide says, "Any place that has a public access point: They're not secure. They're not taken care of, and just like a public countertop or public bathroom... germs spread... viruses spread ... the ability to get into a network spreads."
Ensure you're doing business with the people you think you are.
Phishing emails and apps can direct you to 'real-looking' sites that have no connection to actual retailers, where crooks are waiting to rip you off.
And, while legitimate retailer apps should be as secure as their websites, look for the "https:" in the web address when using traditional browsers.
Finally, once you click the "buy" button, be on the lookout for delivery scams. The same crooks can use fake tracking emails, that appear to be from UPS of FedEx, to try to trick consumers into revealing personal information.
When in doubt: go the the business website, directly.