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8 Tips for Secure and Successful Cyber Monday Shopping

cyber monday

As online shopping has grown more popular, retailers have added another unofficial shopping holiday to the calendar. In addition to the Friday after Thanksgiving, otherwise known as Black Friday, there’s now Cyber Monday. This is the Monday after Thanksgiving when online retailers offer great deals that are similar to the Black Friday “doorbusters.” 

If you’re planning on doing any online holiday shopping on Cyber Monday, keep these 8 tips in mind. Not only will they boost your chances of getting great deals, but they’ll also help increase the security of your online transactions.

  1. Create a shopping list ahead of time. Similar to a grocery list, this will help you stay focused on the items you really want or need to buy online. Just as important, it will help you avoid getting distracted and wasting money on “shiny” objects you don’t need. For example, you could create your Cyber Monday shopping list on Saturday and then spend time Sunday doing online research for each of the items on your list. This will make it easier to narrow down the potential websites you need to visit for the best deals and really hit the ground running on Monday morning without wasting valuable time.
  1. Dig deep for promotions. Entire websites like are now devoted to helping shoppers find the best Cyber Monday deals. These sites feature links to promotions from lots of different online retailers, often organized by categories such as clothing, electronics, furnishings and appliances. Some even let you comparison shop right there on the site or sign up for alerts when the price of an item drops to a certain level. If you like shopping at a particular retailer, visit their website or social media platforms before Monday to find out what deals they’ll be offering and get promotional codes, if necessary. Also be sure to scour offline sources like your local newspaper or mail flyers to look for deals and obtain promotional codes.
  1. Read the fine print. In the excitement of finding a great deal online, it can be easy to skim right over the fine print. But you should take time to read any disclaimers that accompany a deal because they might contain important information like restrictive return policies, extra shipping costs other hidden fees.
  1. Plan to get up early. Many Black Friday shoppers arise long before dawn to get in line at their favorite stores so they can take advantage of doorbuster deals. Similarly, some Cyber Monday deals are only valid until a certain time on Monday, or they only apply to a limited supply. So shopping online doesn’t necessarily mean you get to sleep late on Cyber Monday. To get the best possible deals, plan on firing up your coffee pot and your computer early.
  1. Pay with a credit card instead of a debit card. Credit cards generally offer a higher level of fraud protection than debit cards for online purchases. For example, if you don’t receive merchandise you’ve purchases online in a timely manner, you can dispute the purchase with the credit card company. However, this option may not be available with a debit card.
  1. Make sure your computer and Internet connection are secure. You should always keep your computer updated with the most recent antivirus software versions. This will help prevent viruses and malware that can put your personally identifiable information, including credit card and bank account numbers, at risk. Similarly, make sure that any websites you visit are using the latest encryption technology so your payment information is secure while in transit. Check to see if the web address is preceded by “https,” not “http,” and if the padlock icon appears in the address bar before entering payment information. It’s also best to avoid using public Wi-Fi networks to make online purchases.
  1. Don’t save your credit card information on websites. E-commerce sites often ask if you want them to save your credit card information so it’s faster and easier to check out when you make future purchases. While this might be convenient and save you a little bit of time, it might also expose you to fraud and theft if the retailer’s site is hacked. The inconvenience of re-entering your credit card info may be a small price to pay to protect your sensitive payment information.
  1. Watch out for phishing emails. These fake emails that appear to be coming from legitimate businesses tend to become more prevalent around this time of year, since thieves know that many people are on the lookout for Cyber Monday shopping deals. No matter how legitimate an email might look, it’s usually smart not to click on links unless you’re positive that you have opted in to a business’ emails. 

If you’re unsure about an email with a great offer, go directly to the retailer’s website and look for the deal instead of clicking on an email link.

Happy Cyber Monday shopping!

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