No, you won't be run over by someone racing to get that doorbuster deal, but Cyber Monday comes with its own set of dangers. Computer technician Nat Dayton at the PC Service Center in Sparks says sure, internet security software has improved, "But so have the people who write the infections."
Cyber Monday's status as the premier online shopping holiday just magnifies a problem we deal with on the internet all the time... security. But the experts we spoke with say it's not the shopping sites that are the problem. "The problem is if your computer is infected already, you'll have a keylogger getting all your information," says Dayton.
Across town at Reno's Used Computer Warehouse, manager Gary Scoggins says that scenario happens, "Oh all the time, all the time." He showed us how easy it is for a computer to turn against you. The owner of one PC on Gary's workbench doesn't know where he picked up this virus. It claims to be from the "Federal Bureau Investigation" (without the "of") and demands a prepaid money code purchased from 7-11 sent back. The screen will not close out.
Dozens of computers in Gary's shop are corrupted by similar online viruses. Sure it gives him a lot of business, but he hates seeing trusting locals fall victim to such scams. Legitimate shopping sites are not a risk. But once you get a virus, a lot can happen when you type your credit card number in. Scoggins told us, "We had one person who got a call from the bank asking if they were buying a motorhome, so they had that number and could do anything."
The attackers are smart and getting more sophisticated. So, 3 tips that could protect you: Use name-brand websites, even if deals are better on unknown websites. When buying from individuals or unfamiliar companies, use Paypal. Be wary of emails asking for information, even if they seem to come from an online store. Logos can be faked.
And a unique tip we heard from Nat at PC Service Center: get one credit card just for online shopping. He says, "That way if you were to get your credit card numbers stolen, you just put in the amount you need to make that purchase. Other than that you have a zero balance."
These days, it's just a sad fact that hope is not a strategy.
You can also find more safety tips from the Washoe County Sheriff's Office by clicking here.
Tuesday, June 18 2013 12:40 AM EDT2013-06-18 04:40:59 GMT
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