Cyber-Shop Safely This Holiday Season - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Cyber-Shop Safely This Holiday Season

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Consumers are expected to spend billions of dollars buying gifts online this holiday season. While the number of cyber-shoppers continues to increase, so does the threat of online scammers. \r\n\r\nWhile millions of us plan to do at least some of our holiday shopping online this year, not all of use are careful with the credit card and other private information we're sharing.\r\n\r\n"I really don't think about it - I usually just go ahead and do it and hope to God everything goes good," online shopper Monica Medina said.\r\n\r\nAnd that's what identity thieves are banking on is gaining access to your financial information to rip you off.\r\n\r\n"I really don't need that problem -- things are tough enough," shopper Lee Morgan said.\r\n\r\nAnd while most online shopping sites are safe, it's important to be able to determine which ones aren't, by "backgrounding" the business.\r\n\r\n"You absolutely want to check an online company out with a third-party source, if it's someone you're unfamiliar with or you haven't worked with in the past," Better Business Bureau president and CDO Sheryl Bilbrey said.\r\n\r\nBilbrey says consumers should start by checking out the site with the BBB, and also calling the company directly to verify they're legitimate.\r\n\r\n"You'll get a good feel for the experience - is there customer service on the backend, can you reach someone and are they willing to work with you," Bilbrey said.\r\n\r\nSome other tips to cyber-shop safely:\r\n\r\n- Protect your computer by installing the most up-to-date spam filters, anti-virus and anti-spyware software and a secure firewall;\r\n\r\n- Keep careful records of your online orders. Be sure to print out any e-mail confirmations you receive, and; \r\n\r\n- According to the BBB, it's always safest to pay with a credit card.\r\n\r\n"Don't use a debit card because they can withdraw funds out of your account with that debit card information, and if you send a check, they can use that check to 'wash' it and use it for fraud," Bilbrey said.\r\n\r\nAnd be sure to check your credit card statement frequently after shopping online for any suspicious activity.\r\n
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