Security experts warn shoppers not to confuse cyber deals with cybercriminals

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Shoppers are setting down their shopping bags and grabbing their virtual shopping carts for great cyber-deals.

But along with all those great deals are greater risks of getting scammed or having your personal information stolen. There are ways to be more cyber-wise and keep from being victimized.

“Protect yourself during Cyber Monday, cyber week, or Christmas, even just throughout the whole year,” said Gulf Coast State College Cyber Security program director and professor Dennis Dillenschneider.

But security expert Dillenschneider is warning you to be cyber-wise. 

“Antivirus software will protect you from anything coming in to harm your computer,” he said. “Make sure that you are using something that is securing your data transmission that’s encrypting your data.”

Right by the web address you are using, you should see a lock symbol. That ensures your information is being encrypted so it has a lesser chance to get hacked.

Dillenschneider said do not be fooled by deals that look too good to be true.

In most cases they are fake.

“Make sure you check your account, bank accounts, the credit card accounts,” said Dillenschneider. “Make sure you’re looking at those statements all of the time.”

Unfortunately, cybercriminals are intelligent and, depending on the wifi connection, might know how to break into secure websites. Dillenschneider said the best way to protect your financial data is to add a third layer of protection.

“Use a prepaid credit card for all of your online, cyber shopping because you can place a limit on it, maybe $500 or $1000,” he said. “That’s all that a criminal can steal is the amount that is on the card.”

Dillenscheider said if a site looks suspicious, like if it does not start with “HTTPS,” report it to your local police department’s non-emergency phone number.

In Bay County, that number is (850) 747-4700 and in Panama City, the number is (850) 872-3112.

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