CLEVELAND — Cyber Monday is on track to generate $9.4 billion in sales, but experts say the online holiday could cause you some major headaches.
Instant deals at your fingertips could be giving cyber criminals instant access to your wallet.
“Please don’t click because that will allow that perpetrator to get in on your computer,” said FBI Special Agent Vicki Anderson. “And then they have access to your banking accounts, your credit card numbers, all of your personal identifying information.”
Anderson said scammers will be watching and waiting Monday.
“Perpetrators definitely seize on this time of year. We’re all in a hurry,” Anderson said. “You jump on your email. You have like 50 million.”
While fraudulent online sales are nothing new, Grinch bots are one of the latest approaches to accessing your personal information.
According to a cybersecurity firm called Radware, the bots snatch up popular items on sale and re-sell them to third party sites for a higher price.
Thieves also try to steal digital rewards and bank account information through phishing.
“That’s what it’s called where they send out thousands of emails to thousands of people just saying, ‘Here’s this deal. You can buy this for this amount. Click here,’” Anderson said.
Experts say there are steps you can take to protect your personal information.
They advise avoiding the temptation to buy from third party sites.
“These bad guys are very sophisticated. They can definitely make it look like it’s coming from a reputable place,” Anderson said. “They can use the same color scheme and the same kinds of banners.”
You should look for the lock symbol in the URL address bar and make sure the URL begins with “https” instead of just “http.” The “S” signifies a more secure site.
Additionally, Paypal is a reputable service which protects your information if there is a security breach.
Lastly, experts advise double checking to make sure that your antivirus software is up to date.