MASON CITY, Iowa - You may be browsing for special deals on Christmas gifts as part of Cyber Monday. Adobe Insights predicts that shoppers are expected to spend a record $7.8 billion online during this year's Cyber Monday alone, breaking the $6.59 billion record set last year.
However, those online purchases could put you at risk.
According to a survey by ExpressVPN, about 15% of Americans are concerned about cybersecurity when shopping online.
Joelle Kruger and her fiance George have shopped online before, and say if you're in a public place, it's best to use a secure wi-fi connection.
"Use your own personal wi-fi if you can when you're purchasing things. Make sure that the website's you know you can trust like JC Penney or a bigger store, Amazon or Walmart or Target."
George's identity was compromised recently, and says he's being cautious about doing online shopping.
"Even just thinking about...one, in terms of money, and I could spend and shouldn't spend, and then also thinking through the risks that are involved in terms of purchasing things, that's definitely a reason to not be overly eager to get a good deal at the expense of your identity."
Austin Hayes has been a victim of hacking after using PayPal.
"I did the express checkout, I had my information saved on there. And one day, someone got into it, transferred a bunch of money over, got into huge issues with my bank, and it was a big pain just to get that resolved."
It took nearly a month to get everything resolved, and the incident changed the way he saves his personal information on his computer.
"I don't like to leave my information on a website, anywhere almost, even on my emails and passwords, especially my credit card information. I make sure all of that's deleted whenever I'm done. I even clear my history and my data when I'm done with that just to get rid of it and make sure nobody else besides me can see it."
If you're wanting to take advantage of those hot online deals, Hayes says to use common sense.
"If you're scrolling through Instagram or your Twitter or Facebook or anything like that, and you're seeing the advertisements where they're saying 89-95% off, it's most likely a scam to try and lure you to give them your credit card information or they're just not going to give you a product."
Another tip is to look in the address bar at the top of your screen. Look for "https://" at the beginning of a web address, as well as a padlock icon. Those indicate that information sent over that site is encrypted. That process converts data into codes to protect it from hackers.
In addition, if you're shopping from a tablet or smartphone, it's best to shop on a vendor's app instead of a mobile web browser, as a vendor has more control over their own apps.
If someone online uses your information to take money from your account, it's advised you contact your bank or credit card company, replace your card and get a new PIN number, and change the password to whichever online account you were using.
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