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Cyber Monday predicted to be the biggest ever

Hollywood, MD - If you decided to sleep in the day after Thanksgiving and avoid the crowds on Black Friday, you know you can still count on great deals on Cyber Monday.

The term “Cyber Monday” was coined in 2005 in an effort to persuade people to buy online. It quickly became one of the biggest online shopping days of the year. This year, it is expected to be the largest online shopping day in U.S. history—even bigger than Black Friday online sales.

Last year, Americans spent $3.39 billion during Cyber Monday. This year sales are expected to top $6.6 billion.

According to the National Retail Federation, holiday sales over all are predicted to skyrocket to $682 billion this year—that’s a four percent increase from 2016.

Many consumers wait to make purchases until Cyber Monday because they can save more than on Black Friday. Retailers will often offer an additional 10 percent off of Black Friday sales on Cyber Monday.

With so many shoppers expected to buy online, consumers are also being warned about online fraud. There’s a higher risk of identity theft and hacking, with thousands of unsafe and malicious websites posing as vendors. 

Here are five ways you can protect your information.

1. Create unique usernames and passwords- Security experts suggest using complex passwords that include a variety of numbers, letters and special characters. Just be sure to write down those passwords and keep them in a safe place.

2. Monitor your bank account- Be extra vigilant of purchases made through your bank account and on your credit cards. Turn on notifications to be alerted when purchases are made. If you notice an unauthorized purchase, call your bank or credit card company immediately.

3. Be aware of links- There are thousands of malicious mobile apps and misleading pages that put consumers at risk of being hacked. Make sure you are shopping on a store’s actual website before putting in any personal information or a credit card number. You should make sure the URL is correct and begins with “HTTPS” or has a lock symbol next to the web address, which means it’s encrypted.

4. Don’t shop on public Wi-Fi- Be sure to shop on a secure Wi-Fi at home, not at a coffee shop, airport or other public network. If you have to shop on the go, make sure you use a mobile device with a data plan or personal hot spot created for your phone.

5. Use two-step authentication- Most email clients now allow users to opt for two-step authentication which works as a normal log-in, with a username and password, but requires a verification code sent through a separate device, like your phone, for access.

Happy shopping!

Contact Joy Shrum at j.shrum@thebaynet.com

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