Cyber Monday shoppers need to be vigilant of hackers, experts say

DENVER - Cyber Monday deals entice millions of shoppers to buy online, and experts warn hackers could be waiting to steal their credit card information.

“Everyone is focused on how am I going to save money? Not on how I might get hacked today,” said Charles Tendell, a Denver based Certified Ethical Hacker.

Tendell says between fake websites, credit card skimmers and digital pickpockets, some door buster deals could end up costing shoppers a lot more in the long run this holiday season.

“It’s also a great opportunity for hackers to be able to scoop up not only your personal information but your card information and just about anything they want,” Tendell said.

Shoppers at Best Buy in Glendale had mixed reactions about the thought of potential scammers taking advantage of crowded stores and busy websites.

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“Actually that’s happened to us four times,” explained shopper Robert Shaw.

Shaw says he pays very close attention to his finances and transactions because hackers have taken his information several times in the past. He says he does not understand how the criminals can keep getting away with it.

“We’ve got the card. How does this happen?” Shaw asked.

“There are apps on your phone. People can just walk by, wave it and grab your information,” explained shopper Barbara Cosgrove.

She says she does not worry about credit card thieves at all because she uses a special RFID wallet designed to block hackers. Tendell says the protective cases are not perfect though.

“The problem is once your card comes out of that wallet you’re back to square one where people can get you from anywhere,” said Tendell.

There are easy ways to outsmart hackers. If you are shopping online, type in the URL address yourself so you know you are not on a third-party or spoof website. Whether you shop in store or online, prepaid credit and gift cards can also keep you safe. They are just as good as cash or debit and do not carry any personal information.

If you absolutely have to use your debit card, Tendell recommends only keeping a small amount of money in the account to shop with.

“Drain your account. Put all of the money into a savings account that is tied to it and make sure that only the charges that you authorized that you move money into the account for are done,” he said.

Shoppers can also use services that provide masked credit cards to shop. Apple and Google Pay provide similar protections.

“It’s an instantly generated fake credit card number that only the reader and the credit card institution know exist so if a hacker were to get a hold of that they wouldn’t be able to continue making charges,” Tendell explained.

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