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DeWine has Cyber Monday shopping tips

Ohio Attorney General’s information

COLUMBUS — As consumers shop online during Cyber Monday and throughout the holiday season, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is encouraging Ohioans to protect their personal information and avoid scams online.

Cyber Monday artwork2 11-2015“It’s a busy time of year, but it’s important not to let your guard down when it comes to identity theft and fraud prevention,” DeWine said. “We encourage people to check out the websites they’re using before entering payment information, to be careful about the type of payment they use when shopping online, and to watch for signs of a scam.”

The Monday after Thanksgiving, known as Cyber Monday, is considered one of the biggest online shopping days of the year, and according to survey results from the National Retail Federation, almost half of holiday shopping (browsing and buying) will occur online this year.

To avoid scams while shopping online, the attorney general offers consumers the following recommendations:

  • Install updates on devices before shopping. Installing updates on one’s phone, tablet, computer, or other electronic devices can add new security patches and critical files, so make sure apps, anti-virus software, operating systems, and other important programs are up to date before entering payment information. Remember to download or install updates only from the official app provider.
  • Review complaints against online sellers. Check for consumer complaints on file with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and Better Business Bureau. Also use a search engine to type the name of the company or website along with terms such as “complaint,” “scam,” or “review.” Those who find mostly negative information, or if they find no information at all, should be skeptical. Don’t enter any personal information if a website seems less than credible.
  • Use a secure Internet connection. Before entering a credit card number or other personal information, be sure the web address begins with “https” instead of “http.” The “s” indicates a secure connection. Also, do not use free, public Wi-Fi to log into bank accounts or to enter credit card or other financial account information.
  • Pay with a credit card. When Ohioans pay with a credit card, they generally have stronger protections against fraudulent charges. Be sure to save documentation, such as invoices and confirmation emails, to compare them against credit card statements. Those who find any unusual activity or unauthorized purchases, should report it to their credit card provider immediately. Also, be suspicious of any sellers that require them to pay via wire transfer or prepaid money card. These are preferred payment methods for scam artists, because it is difficult to recover or trace the money once it’s sent.
  • Don’t respond to pop-up messages. Some pop-up messages are placed by scam artists hoping to obtain money or personal information. For example, in one version of the “tech support scam,” consumers receive a pop-up message from someone who claims to represent their computer company and says their device has been infected with a virus. The message prompts consumers to call for more information. Eventually a representative asks them for payment information or access to their computer to help fix the problem. Even if it sounds legitimate, it’s actually a scam.

In October, DeWine announced a new cybersecurity awareness campaign to help Ohioans avoid identity theft and cyber fraud. The grant-funded program includes cybersecurity messages that are being displayed in public transit systems and made available for libraries and schools throughout Ohio. It also includes community education about online security and privacy.

Consumers who want to learn more about cybersecurity or report a potential scam should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or 800.282.0515.

POSTED: 11/30/15 at 9:16 am. FILED UNDER: News