FBI: Beware online shopping scams

The FBI this week issued a series of reminders to online shoppers to beware of scams and to use their common sense.

"Scammers use many techniques to defraud consumers, from phishing e-mails offering too good to be true deals on brand-name merchandise to offering quick cash to victims who will re-ship packages to additional destinations. Previously reported scams are still being executed today," the FBI states.

[BLACK FRIDAY:20+ Eye-Popping Tech Deals]

Here's a rundown of the FBI's advice, some more obvious than others.

*Keep a watchful eye on your personal credit information at this time of year for any possible fraudulent activity.

*Be careful when receiving online correspondence from banks. Never click on a link embedded in an email from your bank. Rather, open a new webpage and manually enter the URL to avoid getting snagged in a phishing trap.

*Stick mainly to reputable online sites. Those unfamiliar to you might be traps designed to swipe your personally identifiable information.

*Don't assume even top search results will take you to a reputable site. Take a close look at the URL of any site you plan to visit to see if anything looks funky, such as extra characters. Make sure the payment page of any website you use starts with https, not just http.

*Don't respond to unsolicited email (i.e., spam)

*Be wary of emails claiming to contain photos in attached files... which could contain viruses.

*Avoid filling out forms contained in email messages that as for personal info.

*Be on the alert if you are requested to act quickly or if there is an emergency that requires your attention, as these could be scams.

*Check out US-CERT's posting on Holiday Season Phishing Scams and Malware Campaigns.

*Finally, if it looks too good, it probably is.

Read more about wide area network in Network World's Wide Area Network section.

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