Staying safe and red flags to look out for this Cyber Monday

Published: Nov. 27, 2021 at 4:33 PM CST
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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - Shoppers are getting ready for one of the biggest online shopping days of the year: Cyber Monday. But with all the different deals out on the web, it’s important to be careful when you are online.

“If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Be careful,” said William Hale, Managing Partner at Goosmann Law Firm’s Sioux City Office.

Many people will be taking to the web this Cyber Monday, for good deals on everything from electronics to clothes.

But with good deals come scams, hackers, and the possibility to have your information stolen.

“The things that you really have to realize is, when you’re online, it’s not the community that you live in that you’re dealing with. You’re connected with people from other countries that have completely different value sets. And so, you need to trust no one. I think that’s one of the hard things for a lot of rural communities. for people to realize,” said Brad Vogt, Technology Information Instructor, Northeast Community College.

Vogt, whose focus includes Cyber Security, says hackers and scammers can range from one lone wolf to a business model with a room full of people.

But there’s a big red flag you can look out for.

“They’re going to create a sense of urgency. Like, you need to do this by 5 o’clock today. If you don’t do it then by 5 o’clock today something bad will happen. Creating that sense of urgency or scarcity, all of those are what’s called social engineering. It gets you to do something that you technically should know better,” said Vogt.

If you fall prey to a Cyberattack, William Hale, Managing Partner at Goosmann Law Firm in Sioux City, says contact law enforcement.

“For consumers, if you’re able to track down the wrongdoer, there are obviously ways that we can pursue them legally and try to get your money back. The hard part is is that a lot of the times this happens from people who are overseas. Very anonymous. Hard to find out. Even if you did find out exactly who it was that stole you’re information or did it, then there are difficulties in trying to bring some sort of lawsuit against them or try to recover that information,” said Hale.

Checking bank accounts, getting new cards, and changing passwords are all other mitigation efforts you can go through if you get hacked.

Another big tip? Shop on a trusted WiFi, and stay away from publicly accessible internet connections.

“You don’t know what type of security they have on their WiFi. There may be a scammer or a bad individual who’s also sitting right there who is able to hack into your device by using that free WiFi,” said Hale.

The idea is to grab good deals, not scams and viruses, on this Cyber Monday.

And the protection doesn’t stop after you’ve ordered your items. Leaders with the Sioux City Police Department said to be on the lookout for people stealing your packages once they arrive.

“People are going to be shopping online and so we’re going to see a big rise in porch pirates this year like we do every year. If you see someone in the neighborhood that looks suspicious or they look like they’ve gone up and stolen some packages, please give us a call. It seems like a lot of them like to follow the delivery trucks and stuff. So, keep an eye out. If you see something suspicious let us know,” said Sgt. Jeremy McClure, Sioux City Police Department.

McClure says porch or doorbell cameras can be helpful in solving crimes like these.

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