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Cyber Monday Safety Tips from Microsoft

The Monday following the Friday after Thanksgiving Day is the seond busiest online shopping day of the year in the United States.

For the millions of shoppers worldwide expected to shop online Cyber Monday, Microsoft shared the following security tips to keep their transactions and information safe:

1. Defend your computer with updated firewall, antivirus, and antispyware software and password-protect your wireless connection at home.

2. Create strong passwords for all online accounts, particularly those used for banking or shopping. A strong password is at least eight characters long and includes letters, numbers and symbols.

3. Look for signs that the website protects your data.  On the web page where you enter your credit card or other personal information, look for an "s" after http in the web address of that page (as shown below). (Encryption is a security measure that scrambles data as it traverses the Internet.) Also make sure there is a tiny closed padlock in the address bar, or on the lower right corner of the window. 

4. Never make online financial transactions on a public or shared computer.

5. Consider the reputation of the company or website from which you buy. Sites like or BizRate have customer evaluations which can help you determine a company's legitimacy.  Look for third-party seals of approval from organizations like the Better Business Bureau or TRUSTe

6. Be cautious about storing your password, address, and credit card data on websites.

7. Give only enough information to make the purchase - be wary if a merchant asks for additional information like bank account information, social security number, etc.

8. Choose a safe way to pay like a credit or charge card that offers cardholder protection, or a payment service like PayPal, which shields your credit card number from sellers.

9. Print or save a copy of your order, including the confirmation number or e-mail message, as your receipt.



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