Cyber Monday Safety Tips
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Cyber Monday Safety Tips

Posted on Monday, November 18th, 2013 at 8:00 am
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Online shoppingTrying to avoid being trampled by a mad rush of shoppers at your favorite store on Black Friday? If so Cyber Monday may be the best alternative for you. Nothing says less stress like shopping from the comfort of your own home in your favorite pajamas and slippers! Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, has exceptional deals and bargains that are exclusively sold online. Even though you may be tempted to snap up every advertised low-priced deal you’ll want to follow a few tips to ensure your financial security. Here is our best advice:

1. Shop at Secure Sites

Shopping at a secure site means you’re shopping on a site that has a trusted and safe backened system plus a SSL encryption. A SSL encryption, or a secure sockets layer encryption, is a form of security technology that provides an encrypted link between a browser and a web server. This means the data passed between the two (such as your credit card number) remains private. You’ll know a site has a SSL encryption if you look at the URL of the site and it says “HTTPS” and if the address bar has a small padlock icon.

2. Use Different Passwords

Using different passwords for different sites may seem basic, but it is an integral part of maintaining security. We know it’s tough to keep track of unique passwords for all the sites you shop at, but it’s one of the easiest things you can do to keep yourself safe. The best passwords include a combination of upper and lowercase letters in addition to numbers and/or symbols. Try to stay away from traditional passwords such as your street name, a pet’s name, birth dates,  or anything similar.

3. Keep  Your Software Updated

Anti-virus software is essential in protecting your computer everyday, so you can imagine how important it is when you’re doing some serious online shopping. Keep your antivirus updated and running to maximize your safety. If your computer doesn’t have any antivirus software you need to change that immediately. For some guidance check out PC Magazine’s post “The Best Free Antivirus for 2013“.

4. Check Your Statements Regularly

Checking your bank statements for fraudulent charges may be something you already do, but during the holiday season you’ll want to do it more regularly. Examining your statements online can be a big help in making sure fraudulent charges aren’t posted to your account.

5. Password Protect Your WiFi

This tip is pretty basic. Make sure you’re shopping on a privatized WiFi connection to mitigate any risk when you’re online shopping. If you’re using a network at home make sure the password is complex and has a mixture of upper and lowercase letters plus numbers/symbols.

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.