Experts urge shoppers to secure personal info

November 29, 2010 (CHICAGO)

Nearly 20-percent of Americans are logging on for bargains on Cyber Monday - the Monday after Thanksgiving when employees return to work and use their company computers to buy holiday gifts.

The deals are out there. The public is seeing retailers offer time-sensitive specials to nudge consumers into making purchases. But experts suggest balancing the deal with securing personal information.

It is the busiest time of the year for, a suburban company that can personalize just about anything. Their production lines will run 24-7 until Christmas. Company employees were braced for Cyber Monday.

"We were expecting 150,000 visitors today, which would be higher than our typical day," said Kathy Flynn,

By midday, the company had 5,000 orders and expect this Monday after Thanksgiving will bring thousands more orders.

"It's exciting. I think there really is talk about how busy we really think it's going to be and if it is going to meet our expectations," said Flynn.

ABC 7 found some shopping at the Seattle's Best cafe at Borders bookstore on State Street.

"For me, it is a great deal. I am a bargain shopper. I enjoy shopping when there's deals. I really do," said Maria Komorowska.

Perla Gonzalez was out shopping on Black Friday and found deals online Monday just as good and shopping easier.

"It's way more convenient. You can open five sites at a time, look at al the different things. It's super easy and it's fast," said Gonzalez.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) suggests cyber-shoppers protect their computer with recent anti virus and spyware software. They suggest using trustworthy websites and known companies. If shoppers do not know the companies, officials say they should research them. The BBB tells shoppers to confirm the purchase is secure with an http with an "s" in the website address and a lock symbol. They also suggest using a credit card.

"Purchase with a credit card. Even if you have a debit card, use your credit card. Don't wire money. Don't send cash or anything like. That you have a protection with a credit card under federal law," said Steve Bernas, BBB.

Scammers have set up fake websites designed to get consumers' credit card numbers. There is also counterfeit merchandise.

Federal officials shut down more than 80 websites selling counterfeit and pirated items.

Officials suggest checking the store's website and the Better Business Bureau. They also recommend researching the company online. If other consumers were duped, shoppers are likely find information about problems with the site.

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