Cyber Monday: Convenient For Shoppers And Scam Artists

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Black Friday is intended to jump start the Christmas Shopping Season by luring shoppers with huge discounts.

In recent years, online retailers have done the same with Cyber Monday.
Scam artists eagerly anticipate both.

"There's always a danger anytime someone is doing a trans\action with a credit card or any other financial means," says Washoe County Sheriff's Sgt. Dennis Carry. "They going to be out there looking for new victims."

Carry supervises the Northern Nevada Cyber Center at the Sheriff's office.

Much of the work there involves tracking child pornography, but in the weeks and months following the Christmas shopping season, Carry and others will be busy with online fraud.

"More and more people do online transactions. More and more people store credit cards information in other locations and ever since the fraud has just increased tremendously."

Avoiding fraud on the internet is difficult, even Carry admits he's been a victim, but he says there are some things you can do to guard against it.

They're mostly common sense and increased caution.

Like installing security software on your computer and keeping it and your operating system up to date.

Look for signs a site is secure before giving any personal information.

Look for a closed padlock on your web browser's address bar.

Check privacy policies.

Don't shop using wi-fi at an unsecured hot spot.

Print any transactions you make. Check them against your credit card statement as soon as you get it and never send cash through the mail or use a money wiring service.

"We encourage people to do all those safety precautions, but they can still be a victim because they don't know on the other end who holds that information."

The only secure way to shop, Carry says, is deal with a local provider in cash or with a fraud proof check.

There's more information on a web site that's a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center.