In today’s “Money Mondays” segment, Mellody Hobson gives you the inside scoop on cyberscammers and how to avoid them.
With Black Friday behind us, we’re now in full-swing holiday shopping season. But before you nab those “can’t be beat” deals, consider my advice about protecting yourself online. Today kicks off the online holiday buying frenzy, meaning cyberscammers are so happy, they’re singing Christmas carols, so I couldn’t be catching you at a more opportune time!
Last year, consumers spent about $1.5 billion on Cyber Monday, up 16% from 2011. Industry experts predict this season will see even more growth. Coupled with the boom in sales is a predicted increase in the amount and severity of online scamming and data theft. So I want to cover a few key points to help everyone minimize their online risk.
First, don’t click on popup ads. Malicious popup ads are one of the most prevalent security threats to online shoppers. When in doubt, put down that mouse! The same goes for email. Don’t click through a tantalizing email offer. And don’t think that because it comes from a “friend” via social media that it’s safe: Social media is the cyberscammer’s playground. To avoid getting hacked, enter a store’s url directly instead of clicking through a promotional link.
This is where keeping your computer and apps updated has its benefits. Updates help keep security tight. Speaking of which, there are a number of free anti-virus software options available. But at the very least, make your passwords hard to crack. That means your birthday and your pets’ names are off limits.
Next, be wary of who you’re ordering from. Stick to merchants that you know and trust, and when it comes to sites that sell through third parties like ebay, Amazon and Etsy, ensure the seller has a high number of positive reviews and a return policy you can live with.
When shopping online for the holidays, try to use a credit card instead of your debit card. Credit frequently has more safeguards in place than debit. Also check your statements a little more frequently than usual. It’s high season for Santa, but also for scams.
Finally, shop on a secure connection. Free wireless at the coffee shop is great for checking your email but not for ordering Aunt June a new toaster. Also, before you enter your financial information on a website, ensure the site itself is secure. You can do that by checking that the URL address begins with “https” and not just “http” or there’s a lock icon in your browser’s search bar, signifying that it’s encrypted.
The same rules hold true when shopping on your smartphone, which is becoming more and more common. Secure site, secure connection, verified merchants. In addition, you simply MUST, MUST, MUST have a security lock on your phone. If you don’t and your phone is lost, you may as well just give someone the keys to your house.
A lot of precautions to take!
Being a little extra careful can save you from the immeasurable hassle of identity theft. And don’t get me wrong: I’m a huge fan of online shopping. There are tons of great deals. Plus it’s convenient and free shipping is often an included perk. Also, it keeps you on point because you’re less likely to fall prey to those expensive, strategically placed impulse buys that catch your eye in the store. Online shopping is great. I just urge everyone to think before you click and remember, if it looks too good be true, that’s probably because it is.
Mellody is President of Ariel Investments, a Chicago-based money management firm that serves individual investors and retirement plans through its no-load mutual funds and separate accounts. Additionally, she is a regular financial contributor and analyst for CBS News.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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