Don’t Become a Victim of Identity Theft on Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday is becoming one of the biggest shopping days of the year, second only to Black Friday. Actually it is the busiest online shopping day of the year. With so many consumers gearing up to take advantage of the one-day-only deals, cyber thieves are gearing up to steal people’s identity and other personal information.

Make sure you take the proper steps needed so that you won’t become a victim of cyber identity theft.

Avoid Wireless Connections

When making a purchase over an open wireless internet connection you are more susceptible to having your personal information stolen. Most importantly you want to avoid making any type of purchase while using a public wireless connection. Locations like airports, bookstores, and coffee shops are where cyber thieves hang out.

Home wireless secured connections are a lot safer to make purchases over. However if you reside in a high-density area and one of your neighbors is a skilled hacker who can get past your security gate, then you can still have your information stolen. You can never go wrong when making a purchase from a computer that is hard-wired to your network.

Shop on Trusted Sites

If you plan on shopping online, you need to make sure that the retailer has a Trust Mark that is highly visible on their site prior to entering your credit card information. The four Trust Marks that you should be pay attention to are:

1. Identity Trustmark – This lets shoppers know that they is a legitimate business behind the website.
2. Privacy Trustmark – This informs shoppers that the statements made in the company’s privacy policies are accurate.
3. Security Trustmark – This let’s potential customers know that the website is secure and can’t be exploited by fraudsters and thieves
4. SSL Trustmark – The “s” informs consumers that they are shopping on a secure website, while the closed padlock icon in the browser means personal information is encrypted.

Pay Attention and Protect Yourself

• Use only one credit card for online purchases.
• When making a purchase, never click on a link you are unsure of in an email to make a purchase; instead go directly to the retailers’ website.
• Monitor your accounts statements and credit report.
• Make sure your virus protector, malware, and spyware software is up to date.
• Make sure that the computer that you are using to shop online has the mos current Java and Flash software.
• Shop on well-known sites that you have safely used in the past, or that you know have a reputation for secure shopping
• Avoid phishing scams that look legitimate but request your credit card or personal information via email

If you follow these simple strategies, you will be less vulnerable to becoming a victim of identity theft during your cyber shopping experience.

April Lewis-Parks has more than 15 years of experience in the financial sector, she is a certified financial counselor, and a consumer affairs advocate. As the director of education and public relations for Consolidated Credit she is dedicated to generating awareness about personal finance issues and acts as their consumer affairs advocate. As host the of, she promotes financial education and offers timely and informative personal finance articles to educate the public. April’s promotional efforts can be seen in past issues of the New York Times, Washington Post, Newsday, Consumer Reports, the Business Journals, Money Magazine, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Family Circle, among others. Connect with April on Google+ (