Don't want to brave the lines, crowds, and general pandemonium of Black Friday? You could always stay home and shop online on Cyber Monday instead. Many online retailers will be offering substantial discounts, free shipping, and other attractive perqs to Web shoppers on the Monday after Black Friday—that's November 26 this year.
Here are some tips for safe online shopping:
- Never use the same password for multiple sites. Minimize the chance that a hacker who broke into one account can gain access to your other online accounts.
- Create and use separate e-mail addresses. Specific e-mail accounts for specific shopping sites—say, "MyAmazonAccount@gmail.com"—will limit your data exposure when a particular online retailer gets hacked.
- Never use any part of your name or any other easily guessed word in your password.
- Use a strong password, including a mixture of letters, numbers, and special characters. Substituting numbers for letters might help you remember your login--"pa55w0rd" instead of "password," for example. And some websites allow the use of symbols such as ! and #. For more password advice, see "How to create a strong password (and remember it!)."
- Verify that the site you're doing business with is a known and trusted retailer.
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