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CFO Jimmy Patronis: Be Alert for Online Scams on Black Friday, Cyber Monday

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.— Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis warns Floridians to be on the lookout for top scams surrounding Black Friday and Cyber Monday and offers top six tips to avoid them.
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “Last year Cyber Monday sales were approximately $6.6 billion and shoppers spent more than $5 billion online on Black Friday. More than 47 percent of online shopping visits in 2017 were from smartphones. We all enjoy the convenience of online and mobile shopping, but it’s important to shop smart. Be alert and verify before you click.”
Top Black Friday and Cyber Monday Scams

1. "Free” Gift Cards. These scams are typically done via text message (sometimes email) and ask you to enter your information for a chance to win a high dollar amount gift card. These scams aim to steal your personal information.

2. Delivery Problems. After purchasing online, you may receive an email from someone pretending to be a reputable business telling you there is a problem with delivery or the transaction. This may come from the retail shop, or even one of the top delivery companies. No matter how authentic it looks, do not click on any links until you do research.

3. Beware of “Deals.” Scammers use the same tactics reputable businesses use to lure you to purchase something at a great deal, which is why these scams can be even more dangerous. Use your instincts—if it’s too good to be true, it is.

4. Fake Coupons. One way scammers lure you into giving up your information is by using genuine grocery store or supermarket discounts. When you go to redeem the coupons, they ask for your personal information.
Tips to Protect Yourself
1. Update Your Browser. Having the most updated browser can better protect against vulnerabilities that an older version may not have.

2. HTTPS. Never shop on a website that doesn’t have “https” in from of the URL. The “s” indicates that your session is secure and uses encryption to keep your information safe.

3. Don’t Click. If you receive an email or text message do not click on links, no matter how legitimate it looks. Take simples steps like hovering over the sender email address to see who the sender actual is.

4. Don’t Shop on Public WiFi. WiFi at your local coffee shop, while convenient, is unencrypted and unsecure. Shopping on a public WiFi network leaves your personal information vulnerable.

5. Trust Your Instincts. Crazy low prices for high priced items are typically a sign of a scam. High price items like iPads, iPhones, or other electronics will be on sale this week, but likely not for 70 percent off.
6. Use Incognito or Private Page. Use an incognito page to prevents browsing history from being stored, if using a public computer. Normally, when you visit any web page, any text, pictures and cookies required by the page are stored locally on that computer.
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