MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As consumers continue to spend a record-breaking amount of money online this holiday season, cyber criminals are waiting for retailers and shoppers’ mistakes. Staying vigilant of the details when shopping online often makes a big difference in protecting information.

In the past, cyber criminals have registered websites as well-known companies, but with a deliberate typo designed to trick the consumer.

Phishing scams are also dangerous. The National Cyber Security Alliance advises consumers look at emails closely before engaging and when in doubt, throw it out.

The nonprofit also advises against engaging with personal websites for shoppers who connect to a public WiFi.

Privacy also falls under cybersecurity, although unlike a hack or a breach, many consumers often willingly give up private information as part of a company’s terms of service.

Many retailers will track its customers online and in-store. When online, those websites will target ads based on what a shopper has clicked on but not purchased. Consumers can disable that feature by surfing incognito or turning off cookies, however one of the downsides with that is the browsers won’t remember login information.

Some brick-and-mortar retailers will look for devices with WiFi or Bluetooth enabled and track movements within a certain range. To disable that, simply toggle the WiFi and Bluetooth off.

The National Cyber Security Alliance has a helpful page to help manage privacy settings with several popular websites.

Christiane Cordero

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