Community Access

Community Access

Community Access


Cyber Monday Safety Tips

Happy Cyber Monday!

While those deals may be enticing, are you protecting yourself to make sure they're legitimate?

The FBI has shared some tips for general online safety as well as Cyber Monday Safety.

Protect Your Systems and Data

  • Keep systems and software up to date and install a strong, reputable anti-virus program.
  • Create a strong and unique passphrase for each online account you hold and change them regularly. Using the same passphrase across several accounts makes you more vulnerable if one account is breached.
  • Do not open any attachments unless you are expecting the file, document, or invoice and have verified the sender’s email address.

Protect Your Connections

  • Be careful when connecting to a public Wi-Fi network and do not conduct any sensitive transactions, including purchases, when on a public network.
  • Avoid using free charging stations in airports, hotels, or shopping centers. Bad actors have figured out ways to use public USB ports to introduce malware and monitoring software onto devices that access these ports. Carry your own charger and USB cord and use an electrical outlet instead.

Protect Your Money and Information

  • Examine the email address in all correspondence and scrutinize website URLs. Scammers often mimic a legitimate site or email address by using a slight variation in spelling. Or an email may look like it came from a legitimate company, but the actual email address is suspicious.
  • Do not click the link in an unsolicited text message or email that asks you to update, check, or verify your account information. If you are concerned about the status of your account, go to the company’s website to log into your account or call the phone number listed on the official website to see if something does in fact need your attention.
  • Carefully scrutinize all electronic requests for a payment or transfer of funds.
  • Be extra suspicious of any message that urges immediate action.
  • Make online purchases with a credit card for an extra layer of protection against fraud.
  • Do not send money to any person you meet online or allow a person you don’t know well to access your bank account to transfer money in or out.

Not sure if what you're looking at is a scam? Click here to check the BBB database.

Have you been scammed? Click here to submit a claim to the Internet Crime Complaint Unit. shares the following:

1) Fake Online Stores

If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Finding a great deal through a search engine doesn’t guarantee the site is legit. Cyber criminals get their websites promoted to the top of Google or other search engines which gives the impression that they are real. If you make the mistake of clicking on these phony websites, they can infect your computer or device with a virus or malware.

If you’re even 1% unsure about whether a website is legit, open a new browser, type in the store’s name and search for the product. If the site doesn’t verify the deal, it’s a fake.

(TIP: Cyber criminals often reserve domain names with misspellings of popular brands and create fake websites to capture your financial information – be sure you type the name correctly!)

If you’re unfamiliar with an online store, type the business or website name + scam or rip off into a search engine and if it is a scam, it’s likely someone may have already put out a warning.

2) Malware emails with Ah-maaaazing Offers

When was the last time you received an offer from a legitimate store with a zip file attachment? That’s right, it doesn’t happen. Be especially wary of Cyber Monday emails that contain any type of attachment because it’s possible they contain malware or ransomware. In fact, carefully assess ANY Cyber Monday email you receive. Type the URL into your web browser rather than clicking the link to ensure you’re shopping at the official online store.

3) Public WiFi Data Swipe

It’s never a good idea to send sensitive information over a public WiFi network because your credit card data can easily be stolen. Public WiFi spots are pure gold for cyber criminals, particularly around the holidays.

4) Social Media Fakeout

Cyber criminals know you’re looking for great deals. What better way to reach unsuspecting buyers than Facebook? Scammers use fake or compromised Facebook accounts to post links to incredible deals that don’t exist, particularly on walls of open groups dedicated to shopping. Be especially skeptical of any fake offers, deals or freebies like bogus wine or travel deals. This time of year, steer clear from or be cautious of “giveaways” asking you to share the post on Facebook in order to qualify for something that seems too good to be true.

5) Text Message Phishing

You might already be aware of email phishing scams, but have you heard of text message phishing scams? Here’s how this works; scammers send you a text message “alerting” you of suspicious activity in your bank account, asking you to call a bogus number.

When you call the number, you’re asked to share your sensitive information. Many people fall victim to this scam due to the number of Cyber Monday purchases they’ve made. If you receive a similar message, contact your financial institution directly and whatever you do, DON’T call the number in the text.

Finally, while shopping online this year, follow these 3 do’s and don’ts for Cyber Monday shopping:


  • Click on “malvertising” ads or pop ups within web pages that might contain malware or viruses.
  • Use a debit card for online purchases. Use a credit card instead.
  • Assume a website is secure because they have images of a lock icon within the page.


  • Be cautious of gift cards and only purchase them from legitimate retailers in person whenever possible.
  • Check your bank statements regularly this time of year.
  • Make sure your order is secure by only entering credit card details on web pages that use SSL (secure sockets layer) security. How do you know? Most browsers show a lock icon in the upper left corner of the browser. Another way to know is if the URL for the page begins with https:// and not http://.

Most importantly, before you start shopping on Cyber Monday, take a few moments to ensure your web browser, Antivirus and operating system are up to date. Never use an outdated browser or computer for online shopping.

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content