Protecting yourself when shopping online for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

NORFOLK, Va. – As Black Friday shopping is getting underway and people are looking to save big this holiday season, nearly 60 percent of shopping will be done online. But as consumers hunt for sales, hackers are hunting for consumers’ information.

Lauren Harlow, who lives in Norfolk said online shopping is her go to.

“For example, the other day I was like, my dog is barking like crazy, so I need a bark collar. So instead of going to Petsmart or Petco I just went straight to Amazon and purchased a bark collar,” said Harlow.

It can be appealing – the quiet tapping of keyboard keys versus the loud roar of crowds entering stores for Black Friday sales.

This holiday season, the National Retail Federation is expecting more than half of shopping will be online. While convenient, it can be dangerous.

Michael Wu is a cyber security professor at Old Dominion University. He recommends three things to keep in mind when shopping online. The first has to do with promotional emails.

“Sometimes the hackers just duplicate a very similar email with a very similar icon as those authentic sellers. But the actual link in those emails might go somewhere else. Yes, go to their official websites,” said Wu.

Also, beware pf public WiFi, which can easily be hacked.

“It’s best to limit yourself to window shopping and price comparison over, but switch to LTE, which is safer for the actual purchase,” said Wu.

Finally, check to make sure the website is secure.

“You can look for the small locked padlock icon on the web browser so that means it’s a safe connection and encrypted so use those connections,” said Wu.

That way your credit card information is secure and you’re in control of your hard earned money.