cyber monday protection tips 2015 imagesCyber Monday brings out specials of all kinds that we wait for, but it also brings out a lot of people ready to bilk you out of your hard-earned dollars. They do this is many forms, and one big one is malware and phishing schemes that can really ruin your holiday season.

Keeping checking our Cyber Monday section as we’ll continually update it along with Cyber Monday for your shopping convenience. You can also check out Amazon’s Black Cyber Monday deals here as they’ll keep changing as fast as a Kardashian’s Instagram page.

Here’s some great tips on how to protect yourself and your loved ones from getting hit. We know more and more sites are getting hacked, so being prepared will keep you safe.

Some shoppers have already gotten off to a head start online. Of those planning on exchanging gifts this year, 57 percent of consumers have already made at least one purchase online, per the National Retail Federation.

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The Federal Trade Commission has issued its top 10 tips for online shopping during the holidays.

  • Make a list and a budget. Include incidentals, like cards, wrapping paper and eating out.
  • Check out websites that compare prices for items sold online, and at stores in your area.
  • Be aware that shopping apps can collect a lot of information, like your name, address, phone number, email, and Social Security number. Look for apps that tell you what they do with your data, and how they keep it secure.
  • Check out product warranties. Although not required by law, warranties come with most major purchases.
  • Don’t give out personal information for a chance to win the newest tech toy or a free gift card. Your information can be sold or used to commit identity theft.
  • Look for rebates. Some can be redeemed at checkout, but most require you to send documentation to the manufacturer to get your rebate.
  • When shopping online, keep copies of your order number, the refund and return policies, shipping costs and warranties.
  • If money’s tight, consider layaway. You typically make a deposit and pay over time; the retailer holds the merchandise until you’ve paid for the item in full.
  • Shipping to loved ones overseas? Check the U.S. Postal Service’s calendar for shipping deadlines.
  • ‘Tis the season to be wary, especially of charities that don’t — or won’t — provide key information in writing. Search the name of the organization online. Use the words “complaints” or “scam.”
  • When shopping online, make sure you see the ‘https’ when you’re on a purchase site. That helps let you know that the website has your information protected and encrypted to avoid scammers getting your credit card info or any personal identification. Amazon is one site you can count on to not worry about.

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