Set up security alerts and be careful with giving your...

Set up security alerts and be careful with giving your personal information out while shopping on Cyber Monday.  Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto/EtiAmmos

When you’re hunkered down at your computer hunting for deals on Cyber Monday, you know you need to exercise some self-control, but you should also be cautious.

Cyber criminals can make your shopping adventure way more expensive than you planned.

Protect yourself.

Use credit cards wisely

“Most credit cards offer $0 Fraud Liability policies, but others may not. Check your cardholder agreement or benefits documentation to see if your provider does,” writes Brittney Mayer, credit strategist at

Several credit card issuers also offer virtual credit card numbers for one time use and/or one retailer use. This provides additional protection, guarding your actual credit card numbers from crooks.

Don’t get caught up in the hoopla

You’re excited about deals; but keep your guard up. “Scammers send fraudulent emails hoping you’re so busy chasing bargains that you miss the telltale signs of a spoofed email. You may click on a link that gives you malware instead of coupons! Be sure you know who the email is really from,” says Abby Eisenkraft, an enrolled agent with Choice Tax Solutions in Melville. Don’t browse for coupons on your cellphone using public Wi-Fi while waiting in line. “You’ll be inviting a thief in.”

Set up alerts

Many credit cards allow you to set security alerts that notify you when an online purchase has been made on your card. “You can be sure all the transactions are yours,” says financial debt resolution attorney Leslie Tayne, of the Tayne Law Group in Melville.

Be stingy with your personal information

You may wish to create a personal account for a favorite online retailer, but consider using a guest account for one-time purchases. “The fewer places you give your personal information, the lower the chances your data will get exposed in a breach,” says Tom Pendergast, chief learning officer at MediaPRO, a provider of cybersecurity and privacy education based in Bothell, Washington.

Lastly, trust your gut. If something seems too good to be true, keep surfing.

Latest Videos