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Cyber Monday safety tips

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(KTVI) – If you don't want to shop the malls, internet deals could be just as good as what you'll find in the store.

Forbes Magazine estimates Cyber Monday transactions could bring in $1.8 billion this year.  That’s good news for consumers and retailers alike.  But the bad guys are also trolling the internet.   How do you protect yourself?

You want to be sure you're shopping on a legitimate site, not one set up to steal your credit card information.   You'll know its secure if the website address reads “https.”  That “s” stands for secure.  On the bottom right of the screen you want to look for the locked padlock.

Dan Rechtien, a fraud investigator with the St. Louis Circuit Attorney's office, has another tip. “You want to make sure the website you are using is authorized by the manufacturer.   Because if you’re looking for a specific product and the manufacturer does not authorize this person to sell it, then your warranty may be no good.”

Rechtien says you should use a credit card and not a debit card. Also, it's easy for thieves to steal information when you use a public wi-fi network.

You also want to be careful when using your phone, according to Rechtien, “I recommend that you do not shop from your mobile electronic device unless you have purchased security software, and it is password protected.”

He adds, “You want to think about where and when it is going to be delivered.”

Packages delivered to your door are easily targeted by thieves.  Rechtien says you can pick up the package. “Most places – Fed Ex, UPS, whatever – they will allow you to go to the local Fed Ex store, the UPS store, and pick it up.”

The bottom line is you don't want to be a victim this holiday.  So take precautions to protect your wallet.   Thieves know Cyber Monday draws both the experienced and novice online shopper.

HELPFUL LINKS:

Better Business Bureau St. Louis: http://stlouis.bbb.org/article/BBB-Offers-10-Tips-For-Safe-Online-Shopping-On-Cyber-Monday---Or-Any-Day-44668

FORBES Magazine: http://www.forbes.com/sites/tjmccue/2013/11/26/cyber-monday-2013-may-yield-1-8-billion-in-sales/

Bizrate - Help for online shoppers looking for the best value: http://www.bizrate.com/