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Central Coast cyber experts warn shoppers about Cyber Monday scams

As millions of Americans are looking for the best deals on Cyber Monday, Central Coast experts are warning about scams.

“There’s gonna be online people that want to steal your identity and your credit card information,” warned crime prevention specialist Grace Norris of the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office. “Think before you click.”

“Chances are, you know, if there’s a deal that kinda feels too good to be true, it probably is,” added Cal Poly computer science professor Zachary Peterson.

Norris said one of the best ways to tell scammers apart is by looking at what they ask shoppers to provide.

“If they’re asking for more than your name, email address, and credit card information, then there might be a reason why they want all that additional information.”

Peterson said another way to make sure the connection is secure is by looking for a closed lock at the top of your browser.

“That means two things. One, it means your information that you’re sending to that site is encrypted, and so no one in between the connection can see your credit card information, for example. But it also means identity. So if you see a closed lock on an Amazon site, it means you’re actually talking to Amazon.”

Peterson said that’s important, since some scammers might try to impersonate popular websites.

If you think your information’s been compromised, the SLO Sheriff’s Office suggests reporting it to the Federal Trade Commission or calling the authorities.

Experts recommend constantly checking your bank balance for any irregular activity, and looking up online retailers on sites like the Better Business Bureau.

They also say shopping with a credit card is safer than shopping with a debit card online.

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