How to protect your identity during the holiday shopping season

The holiday season brings happiness, family gatherings, and identity theft

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – We’re officially in the holiday shopping season, and between Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, this is one of the biggest shopping weeks of the year.

Come Monday, many shoppers will be searching for sales online for Cyber Monday. Cyber security experts are warning that thieves could also be online trying to shop for your identity.

Anti-malware company Malwarebytes says hackers could try to gain access to your computer through scams, pop-up spam, and malware.

There are safety precautions you can take to avoid becoming a victim.

Malwarebytes is urging shoppers to go directly to a store’s website instead of looking for deals through a search engine.

If you end up finding a deal through a search engine, you should be able to verify it by searching the name of the deal in quotes. If it’s a scam, someone could have already put out a warning.

Be careful of pop-up ads, as well. Many of them could contain fake coupons that lead you to malicious sites or expose you to a virus.

Cyber criminals are also starting to take advantage of social media. Malwarebytes says you should watch out for fake or compromised Facebook accounts. There may be a scheme involved if you’re asked to share something on your Facebook page before getting a deal.

Shoppers are expected to spend billions of dollars on Cyber Monday this year.

According to Adobe’s Digital Index, online sales will reach $3 billion dollars for the first time this year on Monday, which would make it the largest day for digital sales in history.

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