BBB warns of fake shopping app scams on Cyber Monday

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Shopping the deals to keep costs in check is key for many Cyber Monday shoppers, but don't let those deals distract you.

Steve Bernas, the president of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois, is warning shoppers about fake apps trying to get your personal information.

"They really are hard to distinguish to be honest with you," Bernas said.

A report earlier this month in the New York Times captured a couple of the sites before they were taken down.

"The easiest way to determine if it's a fake app is actually looking on the app itself and seeing how many customer reviews there are. If they have zero customer reviews and they're a major retailer, something is wrong," Bernas said.

A common cyberattack comes through an email with a link.

"Once they are in your machine they can encrypt your data, they can delete everything," said Sanjiv Bawa, Chi Network.

Bawa suggests resisting your curiosity and look for the emailed deal through the retailers authentic site with lots of followers.

"It may not be that great of a deal because it may be what's known as a phishing link, which is where they send a link to try to hack your machine," Bawa said.

On this Cyber Monday, it may be safer to use your boss' Wi-Fi connection. While it may be convenient, security experts warn that using public Wi-Fi networks can also make it convenient for hackers to watch your every move.

Freelancer Anthony Hoffman is often on the go. Much of his retail research is on his phone, but he knows to wait for a secure Wi-Fi before making a transaction.

"I'm also very careful of making sure no one is looking too closely," Hoffman said.

Experts urge everyone to watch those credit card statements after the holidays as retailers could have cyber security issues and may not even know.
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