Buyer beware: Cyber Monday can bring out scammers - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Buyer beware: Cyber Monday can bring out scammers

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ATLANTA -

The busiest online shopping day of the year, Cyber Monday, is upon us. The deals can be tempting, but there are some things shoppers should be aware before clicking buy.

Georgia Tech cyber security expert Paul Royal says Christmas time is prime time for scammers and hackers to prey on Internet shoppers.

"More opportunity unfortunately means more opportunity for people who would defraud individuals of their money," Royal said.

His number one tip: "Don't use debit cards to make point of sale or online purchases."

Royal says you'll have more protection using credit cards in the event your account is compromised.

"Going hand-in-hand with that, monitor your transactions," Royal said.

Go online every day or so and check your credit transactions. It doesn't take long for Internet crooks to run up thousands on stolen accounts.

"When people go to sites that they're not familiar with, that are not reputable and haven't earned the trust of other consumers, that's when they can run into trouble," said attorney Mark Campbell.

Campbell, who specializes in Internet fraud, says consumers should stick to the "electronic beaten path."

"Stay with websites that are well-known, that are trusted," Royal said.

He says problems like compromised credit numbers or something worse -- like identity theft -- can take years to clean up.

"When an identity thief gains your personal identifying information, they can have credit from  hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars within hours," Royal said.

Click here more tips on how to stay safe online

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